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of tbe 
mniversit^ ot Misconsin 


laso - i»ai 

1878 TO 19S1 


. JUn 1 5 1937 


The sesthetic works of F. von Schlegel, which form a portion 
of the present volume, have long been known, by reputa- 
tion at least, to all true lovers of art, although now for the 
first time translated into the Eoglish language. 

His ideas and opinions on the true scope and intention of 
Christian art will, perhaps, be new to some readers, and must 
nnquestionablj afford matter of high interest to alL Never 
has the proper sphere of painting been more beautifully de- 
fined, or its lofty ideality more intelligibly and intellectually 

The treasures of art, concentrated in Paris during the 
period of Napoleon's triumphant rule, first suggested the 
idea and supplied the materiel of the beautiful letters, now 
presented to the English reader ; still our author's descrip- 
tions of the paintings of the old masters there assembled, 
vivid and exquisitely charming as they are in themselves, 
are but the groundwork of a glorious superstructure ; for, by 
the aid of those inspired paintings, he unfolds to our minds 
all the simplicity and purity of Christian art ; its profound 
yet expressive symbolism and exquisite spiritual loveliness. 
He thuB leads us through all the varied characteristics of the 
old masters, from the tragic wildness of Giotto, and the devout 
inspiration of Fra Angelico, to the wondrous allegories of 
Mantegna, and the daring and sublime conceptions of the 
heaven-taught BaphaeL 

A 3 

vi tbanblatob's preface. 

M. Rio, in his " Podsie de I'Art Chretienne,** especially 
notices this work of F. von Schlegel, as well as his observa- 
tions on Mantegna's wonderful style.* 

The characteristics of Leonardo Da Vinci, Correggio, and 
others of that school, are dwelt upon at some length : 
Schlegel styles them " musical painters," from the exquisite 
harmony of combination displayed in their colouring ; he 
unravels the mysterious signification of many of Correggio's 
designs, defends those striking contrasts of light and shade, 
beauty and deformity, which have been censured as inimical 
to correct taste, and opposed to the received laws of art, and 
traces them all to a lofty and inspired source, the influence 
of which is more or less distinctly visible in all the works of 
the old masters, — inseparable indeed from that better period, 
when painting had not yet been diverted from its first and 
holiest office, and was still the handmaid of religion, devoted 
chiefly to the adornment of the sanctuary, the beautifying of 
devotion, and to the purposes of instruction in scriptural 
subjects, f It is to an intention of illustrating the constant 
opposition or antagonism of the principles of good and evil, 
that we are to attribute the glaring contrasts in design and 

* See note to Letter I. page 7. 

f ** Pictune ecclesiarum sunt quan libri laioonim,'* is the obwrvation 
of a writer of the twelfth century. See Comestor ; Historia Scholastica. 
Subjects were sometimes arranged in cycles, — among these were, th£ 
Jots of tbb Viroin : 1. Annunciation ; 2. The 'Citation ; 3. Nativity ; 

4. Adoration of the Kings ; 5. Presentation in the Temple ; 6. Christ 
found by his Mother in the Temple ; 7. The Assumption and Corona- 
tion of the Virgin. Secondly, thk Sorrows of the Virgin : 1. The Pro- 
phecy of Simeon ; 2. The Flight into Egypt ; 3. Christ disputing with 
the Doctors in the Temple, — missed by his mother ; 4. Christ betrayed ; 

5. The Crucifixion (the Virgin and St. John only present) ; 6. The de- 
position from the Cross ; 7. The Ascension (the Virgin left on Earth). 
And, thirdly, the frjutcifal Events of the Passion, as the seven hours 
of the Passion, viz. : 1. The Last Supper; 2. The Agony in the Garden ; 
3. Christ before Caiaphas ; 4. Christ before Herod ; 5. Christ crowned 
with Thorns ; 6. Pilate washing his Hands ; 7. The Crucifixion (the 
Centurion and others present). — Note to Eastlaha's lAteraiun of the 
Fine ArU, 

tbansla.tob'b fbefaoe. vii 

ooloming of Correggio's church pictures ; thoee, for instance, 
of " La Notte," and « St. Jerome," called also " 11 Giomo." 
A flood of heavenly light and beauty is poured out upon 
those characters or themes which symbolize the predominant 
influence of good ; while gloom^ hideousness, and deformity, 
seeniy on the contrary, to warn us of the presence of what is 
evil. This antagonism appears to have been a ruling prin- 
ciple of religious belief from the very earliest times. We 
trace it in the higher systems of Pagan philosophy, where 
it can scarcely have been borrowed immediately from the 
inspired pages ; and this fact is forcibly iUustrated by 
Schiegel, in tibie Treatises on Indian Philosophy and Beli- 
gion, with which the present volume condndes. 

ThB same principle, under the form of Dualism, gleams 
forth in Pagan philosophy, and returns Hke the dim memory 
of a purer faith ; a fitful ray, emanating from the original 
fountain of light and truth, and gradually obscured and pol- 
luted, as men wandered farther from the traditions of their 
first fathers, till, receiving a new impulse from the divine 
doctrines of Revelation, it was admitted and embraced as a 
high moral truth by the earliest converts to Christianity 

Schlegel touches also on the peculiarities of the Spanish 
schools of Murillo and Spagnoletti ; — on the appropriate 
choice of subjects for painting, and the true principles on 
which a division of the art into separate branches should be 
founded; he deprecates the puerile distinctions between 
landscape, portrait, flower, and still-life painting, and con- 
tends that each separate style is perfect only in its true posi- 
tion and office^ namely, when contributing to the significance 
and adornment of that highest order of religious painting, in 
which a severe grandeur of design and conception is united 
with the loftiest spiritual symbolism. 

In the fourth and last letter we have observations on 
painting by various masters of the early German schools, 

A 4 

Tiii transiatob's peefaob. 


witii a critical analysis of the peculiar excellencies and cha* 
racteristic features of those schools generally. 

In fact^ so glowing and yet precise are all the descriptiona 
of pictures contained in these letters, whether of those ex- 
hibited in the Louvre or elsewhere, that they alone would 
render the work highly valuable and interesting to the 
general reader. The pictures referred to haVe been carefully 
collated with the catalogues used by Schlegel, and the pre- 
sent locality of most of those which have been removed from 
the Louvre is also noted. 

In his concluding remarks, Schlegel offers a few sugges- 
tions to young artists of the present day ; and his observa- 
tions will be valuable, not only to those who seek to restore 
a better and purer taste in art ; but also to amateurs, who 
iesiro to form a correct estimation of the paintings of the old 
masters, and to comprehend their deep meaning and intention. 

The " Letters on Gothic Architecture," which follow 
those on Painting, will perhaps, among the numerous valu- 
able works now published in that truly interesting branch 
of art, excite less attention than the preceding ; still they are 
valuable, on account of the descriptions given in them of 
several ancient Grothic churches in Germany and the 
Netherlands ; and also as displaying Schlegel's enthusiastic 
veneration for an art, which indeed harmonised most entirely 
with the prevailing bias of his own mind and genius, as well 
as with hi^ ideas of the spirituality, or rather, perhaps, I 
should say, the spiritual character and universal symbolism 
of Christian art, whether in architecture or painting. 

Remarks on Mediaeval Literature seem appropriately to 
succeed a dissertation on the painting and architecture of the 
middle ages. And our Author's acknowledged critical and 
literary taste gives double value to his observations on the 
best known writers of that period, both in northern and 
southern Europe. 

translatok's preface. ix 

He dwells with pecnliar fondness on the works of Boc- 
caccio and of Camoens. He claims for the former a degree 
of poetic merit, which has not usually been conceded to him, 
and I must acknowledge that, in my opinion at least, these 
claims are not quite satisfactorily supported. That Boccac- 
cio's soul was deeply imbued with the poetry of feeling 
and imagination, no one probably will deny, but still this 
faculty is traced in his prose works far more vividly than 
in his poetical compositions. The ^' Filostrato," of which 
Schlegel first speaks, I have never rend ; but, judging from its 
character, it can afford little scope for that depth of feelin^]^ 
that glowing intensity of imagination and passion, without 
which poetry is but a name. The " Teseide " may pro- 
bably be the first example of tbe '^ Ottava Bima," but it 
certainly has little merit beyond the melody of the versifica- 
tion -, and the shorter sonnets and idylls interspersed in the 
"Decamerone," and the "Ameto," scarcely afford a sufQcicnt 
basis on which to rear the lofty superstructure of a poet's 
fame. Yet the first page of the " Fiammetta," — that exqui- 
site romance which Boccaccio dedicated to the memory of 
his first happy love for Maria of Naples, and its too brief 
duration, — stamps upon every mind the irresistible conviction 
that the writer was, in the truest sense of the word, a poet. 
None but a poet could have so transformed his nature, so 
comprehended and so pourtrayed the passionate earnestness 
of a woman's love ; the heart-rending loneliness of her de- 
sertion and despair, the deceptive hopes, the wayward fears, 
which at length subside into a yet more fearful calm, — that 
chilling apathy, which breathes less of resignation than de- 
spair. In this work there is less of that revolting licence 
with which his gayer tales are stigmatised ; and in spite 
of its questionable morality, it has more of the refinement 
wd spirituality of true feeling. It may, indeed, be doubted 
whether Boccaccio was worthy to offer, or the PrinoesB 

X translatob's pbeface. 

Maria to receive, bo noble a tribute of nncbanging affection ; 
still, whatever may be onr opinion on this point, the work 
itself still remains an eternal monnment of genius, if not of 
faithful love. 

The story of ^'Florio and Biancafiore" is exquisitely 
related; fuU of simplidty and tenderness. A precisely 
similar romance is given in Ellis's ^* Metrical Bomances," 
under the name of '' Florice and Blaimchflour." Ellis, how- 
ever, makes no allusion to Boccaccio's novel, but supposes 
the romance to be either of Spanish origin, or more probably 
translated into Spanish from some French metrical romance. 
I have in my possession a copy of Boccaccio's novel, printed 
in 1570, which differs in some trifling points at the conclu- 
sion of the tale, from the sketch of it given by Schlegel ; 
the latter, however, assimilates more to Ellis's version. 

Schlegel recapitulates the other works of Boccaccio ; and, 
after some comments on the genius of Petrarch, Tasso, and 
various Italian poets, passes in review the Proven9al MSS., 
then in the royal library at Paris, and draws attention to the 
exquisite musical beauty of the Castilian and Portuguese bal- 
lads, romances, and love-songs. Of Camoens, he speaks with 
all the enthusiasm that such a theme might well inspire. 
The gifted, the noble, the chivalrous, — and, alas ! that we 
must add — the ill-fated and unhappy; his personal history 
might well kindle into enthusiasm a colder heart than 
Schlegel's: — his hopes, disappointed both in love and 
glory ; his country's ingratitude, and still more her declin- 
ing fame, do indeed invest the " Lusiad," that first, last 
strain of the Lusitanian muse, with undying glory and 

Schlegel's admiration of our own Shakspeare is no less 
warmly expressed than that of his brother, A. von Schlegel, 
in his ^' Lectures on Dramatic Literature." He insists, per- 
haps rather pertinaciously, oi^ the authenticity of those old 


pifaijSy which our critics have ahnostniuTersallj rejected; but 
this is a question on which it is unnecessary here to enter. 

The account of Grerman paintings, exhibited at Rome in 
the year 1819, is interesting, because it appears to illustrate 
the first development of those better principles by which the 
modem schools of Germany have for some time past been 
guided ; and probably much of the enthusiastic veneration 
for early Christian art, since displayed in that country, 
may owe its rise to the earnest and eloquent appeals con- 
tained in the preceding Letters on Christian Art The 
present school seems certainly, whether with intention or 
unconsciously, to have followed his counsels» and we will 
hope that the final result may justify his most ardent 

The '' Tale of Merlin," which, in Schlegel's collected 
works, is printed in the same volume with that of '' Lother 
and Mailer,'' has been so well rendered by Ellis, in the early 
Metrical Bomances *, that it was considered unnecessary 
to repeat it here. Those familiar with mediaeval romance 
will observe many little similarities of detail in the story 
of ** Lother and Mailer'' with several of the same period; 
seeming to prove that the authcn: was familiar with other ro- 
mantic ficticms of the day. The same remark will apply also 
to some of the tales of Boccaccio. I allude particularly to 
Mailer's sudden disappearance at the close of the tale, which 
reminds us of a similar circumstance recorded in the life of 
Guy of Warwick. The poison prepared for King Qrschier 
by the servant of Otto, — the false accusation to which Zor- 
merin is subjected in consequence, — her condemnation, and 
sentence to be burnt alive, — the execution of which is pre- 
vented only by the sudden appearance of Lother, who proves 
her innocence by vanquishing the accuser, ^ strikingly re- 
semble a passage in '^Morte Arthur," where Guenever, thus 

* PobliilMd in one of the kte Tolumes of the <* Standard Library." 

xii translatob's preface. 

accused and condemned, is rescued only by her gallant 
lover, Sir Lancelot In Boccaccio's " Florio and Bianca- 
fiore," also, the latter, falsely condemned on a similar pre- 
text, is bound to the stake, and owes her life to the prowess 
of the youthful Florio. 

A treatise on the language and wisdom of the Indians, with 
which the volume terminates, will be read with deep interest 
by all who have given any attention to this branch of study. 
It is, however, but a mere outline of what Schlegel wished to 
effect ; for, well convinced of the importance of Oriental tra- 
ditions, both philosophical and religious, and of their bearing 
upon revealed truth, he had long desired to make them fami- 
liar to European readers, but was prevented by the difficulty 
of procuring correct types for the Indian and Persian cha- 
racters. There is, indeed, a great want of distinctness in the 
type employed for the Persian characters in the volume be- 
fore us ; and it is therefore hoped that any inaccuracy in the 
Persian words (which in the translation are printed in 
English type), will be pardoned. 

Nothing can be more elevating than the tendency of 
Schlegel's opinions on almost all points connected with phi- 
losophy, literature, or the arts. His remarks on Oriental 
Philosophy, Pantheism, Dualism, the migration of nations, 
and other important points, throw great light on historical 
researches and investigations; and harmonise completely 
with the opinions set forth in his " Lectures on the Philo- 
sophy of life," and on the " Philosophy of History." 

In the literary Life of F. von Schlegel,' prefixed to the 
translation of the latter work, the "Letters on Christian 
Art," here published, are mentioned in terms of the highest 
praise, and the subject of each letter sketched with a mas- 
terly hand. The analogy between the three arts, of sculpture, 
music, and painting, there referred to, is, however, only 
slightly noticed in these letters ; but this new and fascinating 


theory will be found more fully developed in the ^' Philo- 
sophy of life," lecture xii. p. 261. ; " On the Symbolical 
Nature and Constitution of Life with reference to Art 
and the Moral Belations of Man." 

In the little treatise on the " Limits of the BeautifuV' 
which in the present volume follows the highly interesting 
descriptions of " Schloss B^arlstein," and the " St. Cecilia," (a 
grand altar-piece painted by Ludwig Schnorr,) Schlegelmore 
fully carries out that principle of the union between nature 
and art, — the real and the ideal, — which is slightly touched 
upon in the '' Letters on Christian Art*" The subject is 
handled in this treatise with all the warmth and enthusiasm 
which such a theme would naturally excite in a mind like 
SchlegeVs ; and his arguments are enforced with masterly 
vigour and energy. Few, indeed, will read it without feeling 
that a new sense of beauty has da^vned upon their hearts, — 
that their minds have been awakened to higher and more 
glorious ideas of art ; while many of its costliest treasures, 
though not unprized before, will henceforth be judged by a 
new. standard, and be invested with new interest, both for 
the intellect and the imagination. 

Schlegel continues repeatedly to urge that the lofty in- 
tention of art can only be fully realised when the contrasting 
elements of soul and sense, the lofty spirituality of feeling 
and expression, and the more earthly attributes of human 
love and earthly beauty are kept in equipoise ; in other 
words, that harmony and a carefully balanced proportion of 
nature and spirituality from the perfection of art. This is 
the thesis from which our author takes his departure ; and is 
the point on which he so strongly insisted in his advice to 
modem German artists. 

Schlegel clearly defines the limits that should be assigned 
to each division, and shows that those limits cannot be ex- 
ceeded, without infringing on the province of other equally 

ziy trakslatob's pbefacs- 

important elements of artistic beauty. He points oat the 
numerous errors and £ilse paths, into which even men of 
genius have been beguiled, bj confining themselves to one 
particular attribute alone, or in becoming mere copyists. To 
use our Author's own eloquent words, in reference to the 
destructive influence exerted upon art, by an exclusive 
imitation of mere material forms, whether in nature or 
sculptured marble : '' As in the moral world there is but one 
virtue, so in art there is but one {me path. Perfection con- 
sists in the union of the idea and vitality ; every thing that 
breaks this union, —every deficiency on the one side or the 
other — is a fault ; and if further developed, or adopted as a 
principle, will lead to mannerism. The idea, if suffered to 
predominate, produces works that are cold and inanimate, or, 
at least, in some measure, deserve the reproach of hardness. 
The attempt, on the other hand, merely to copy nature and 
life, may in cases produce strong effects, as many of the 
naturalisti have done ; but, with the loss of ideality is bar 
nished all deep meaning, and even that internal character, 
which forms a most essential condition of art.*** And, 
again, in attempting to fathom the mysterious source of 
genuine Christian beauty, how nobly does he contrast its 
spiritual and immortal loveliness with the character of earth- 
liness stamped by pagan superstition upon all its creations, 
whether the theme chosen for representation be suggestive 
of unbounded enjoyment, or of deep and hopeless agony ? It 
is a system of sensualism, as apart from spirituality, that 
pervades all existing monuments of classic art, and may be 
traced also in all known systems of mythology, whether 
emanating from the gloom and terror of the Scandinavian 
north, or the softer regions of luxurious Asia. The passage 
alluded to is in the fourth Letter on Christian Art. *^ In 
what, then, does this exalted (Christian) beauty consist? It 

• Page 295. 


is of the first importance to analjse the good and evil ten- 
dency of all theories of the art. . . The true object of the art 
should be, instead of resting in externals, to lead the ndnd 
upward into a more exalted region and a spiritual world; 
while false and mannered artists, content with the empty glit- 
ter of a pleasing imitation, soar no higher, nor ever seek 
to reach that lofty sphere, in which genuine beauty is pour- 
trayed according to certain defined ideas of natural charac- 
teristics. The path to which they limit themselves is the most 
vivid development of all sensible forms, — the fascination of 
grace, the highest natural bloom of youthful beauty, yet en- 
dowed rather with sensual attractions than the inspired love- 
liiiess of the sbuL When heathen artists attempt to take a 
higher range, they wander into exaggerated forms of Titanic 
strength and severity, or melt into the solemn moumfulness 
of tragic beauty ; and this last is the lofUest point of art 
they can ever reach, and in this they sometimes approach to 
immortality." * 

Little remains to be said in conclusion. The fame of 
SchlegeFs works is already too vridely diffused to need com- 
ment from the translator's pen. His opinions are quoted by 
Ktigler, Rio, Montalembert, and many others. Montalembert 
especially notices in eloquent terms the lofty faith and ge- 
nuine devotional feeling by which his remarks are invariably 
distinguished ; and although members of a different commu- 
nion may find it impossible to concur in all his opinions, still 
his refined taste and elevated views will be echoed by the 
hearts of all who desire to see art elevated to its highest 
point of perfection ; and in their reverential love for holy 
things, would have them as pre-eminent in external grace and 
beauty as they are rich in the hidden treasures of spirituality 
and devotion. 

There is too much reason to regret, that in a translation it 

* Pages 145, 146. 

xvi translator's preface. 

is impossible to do more than render with fidelity the sen- 
timents and opinions of the Author. To clothe those senti- 
ments in language as eloquent as his own, — to give to those 
opinions the stamp of earnestness and truth, which they 
bear in the original, would demand a mind of kindred genius, 
rather than the timid hand of an unpractised translator. 
Her present efiforts have no other claims to indulgence than 
zeal and an anxiety to do justice to a theme so highly in- 
teresting and attractive; an earnest reverence for genius, 
and all the glorious associations connected with its deve- 
lopment in early Christian art, and an ardent love of beauty, 
under every form and aspect, whether intellectual or mate- 
rial. These have supported her in a task which may, never- 
theless, be considered as presumptuous as it has proved 

The artistic portion of the work has been submitted to the 
revisal of Mr. Womum, to whose critical judgment and dis- 
cernment the translator feels highly indebted. 

Not. 1848. 


A TASTB for the imitadye arts is not like that spontaneous 
poetical sasceptibility, which nature herself has implanted in 
every mind. The traces and indications o£ poetical feeling 
maj Bometimes appear to be almost efiaced ; jet it is only 
because the fine spirit is dolled, and its perceptions blunted 
l^ the heavy external pressure of daily cares and the chill- 
ing, mechanical routine of actual life. Fancy, with her 
gashing feelings, her sympathies of memory and anticipa- 
tion, is an intrinsic element of the human soul, ever ready 
to vibrate at the faintest touch, and start into responsive 
Hfe : but, to discern the beauty of material fonns, fancy and 
imagination alone will not suffice, they must have a pecu- 
liar bias and direction, and be blended and inter-penetrated 
with a high development of those sensual organs to which 
each of these arts peculiarly addresses itself. Nor does this 
taste depend upon the organisation fdone ; a person may be 
endowed with visual organs of the most perfect .structure, 
nay, of more than ordinary acuteness, and yet no perception 
of beauty be associated therewith. The faculty by which 
the eye becomes endowed with a dear, inborn perception 
of the beautiful in painting and in material form, or 
the ear awakened to the spirit of sound and its delicate 
harmonions magic, lies rather in the mysterious depths of 
organisation and the special qualities of the soul in its un- 



seen spiritual life, — in a combination and union of the 
senses and imagination, scarcely explicable even bj the 
gifted individual himself. 

We cannot, therefore, be surprised if learned inquirers, 
deep thinkers, and even poets of genius, are often deficient 
in the perception of beautj in the imitative arts, and per- 
haps, after a life-long occupation amid its themes and subjects, 
remtdn either insensible to its powers, or are for ever fol- 
lowing contrary and opposing impulses. A taste for beauty 
in painting, no less than in music, must be innate ; but when 
thus primarily existing in the soul, the feeling awakens and 
unfolds itself simultaneously with the sight of beauty ; still 
continual contemplation of the art is required for a perfect 
comprehension and elucidation of the ideas connected with it. 

Whoever wishes to introduce new opinions or peculiar 
ideas of Art^ must first strive to initiate others into his own 
process of contemplation, and the full scope of his views ; 
lest his meaning, obscured by general abstract terms and 
conventional phraseology, fail to address itself at once with 
truth and impressiveness to the understanding. 

I date the starting point of my artistic contemplations from 
the antique collection at Dresden ; and a few introductory 
words will suffice to explain its influence on my mind. In 
early youth, when about seventeen years of age, the writings 
of Plato, the Greek tragic poets, and Winkelman's intel- 
lectual works, formed the mental world in which I lived ; 
and often, in my thoughtful and poetical solitude, I at- 
tempted, though in but a boyish manner, it is true, to call 
up before my soul the ideal forms and expression of ancient 
gods and heroes. 

In the year 1789, my mind fraught with joyous aspira- 
tions, I arrived for the first time in a capital highly de- 
corated with works of art, and was no less happy than 
surprised to see before me images of those ancient gods 

author's preface. xix 

and heroes, so long and ardently desired. Among them I 
wandered or mused for hours, particularly in that incompar- 
able collection called the '^ Mengsischen Abgusse,** * which 
irere then placed, with little order or arrangement, in the 
garden of Bruhl ; and where I frequently suffered myself 
to be locked in, in order to pursue my contemplations un- 
disturbed. It was not, however, the magnificent beauty 
of the forms alone, although it satisfied and even surpassed 
xnj silently nuYsed anticipations, but rather the life and 
action of these Olympian statues, which filled me with 
astonishment, because, in my lonely dreamings, I had formed 
no such conceptions, nor even supposed their execution pos- 
sible. These ineffaceable first impressions formed the firm 
enduring basis of my classical researches in succeeding 

In the Dresden Gallery, at that early period, those paint- 
ings alone spoke to my heart and senses, which by grandeur 
of conception, and simple majesty of form, harmonised with 
the ideas of the antique, which then completely filled and 
influenced my mind. In a subsequent residence at Dresden, 
in the year 1798, after I had learned to understand and ap- 
preciate the romantic poetry of the Middle Ages, and the 
deep, spiritual love-sense with which it is imbued, I became 
alive to new and peculiar beauties in the paintings of the 
great masters. I felt the hidden charms of soul and expres- 
sioD, and that magic of colouring which we learn to compre- 
hend by the teaching of love alone. The taste for painting, 
thus newly awakened in me, imfolded itself yet more fully 
during my last stay at Dresden, in the spring of the year 
1802, immediately before my visit to Paris, where I had op- 

* Plaster casts of antique statues made under the direction of Raphael 
Mengs, and now in the royal palace of Dresden, under the Picture 
Gallery. — TVamthior, 

a 2 

zz author's preface. 

portunities of seeing the grand collection in tlie Louvre, 
which mj frequently repeated visits^ during the few suc- 
ceeding years^ enabled me to examine thoroughly and com- 
pletely. Hence arises my continued recurrence, in the de- 
scription of paintings at Paris, to the treasures of art at 
Dresden, which, with the principles of Gothic architecture 
imbibed at Cologne, mark the centrepoint of my copious 
studies of the Art ; and both alike induced me to attempt 
a development of the long-lost, neglected, and now again 
reviving ideas of Christian Art and beauty, by the still ex- 
isting examples of its perfection. I had, at a later period, 
contemplated annexing to this work reminiscences of a tour 
in Italy in the year 1819 (which, though short, was from 
circumstances rich in opportunity), and likewise a few lec- 
tures for artists, &c. upon the Idea of Christian Beauty; 
but my limits do not permit it, and they must be reserved 
for a subsequent volume of this coUection*, which a careful 
revisal, and re-examination of some early principles, has 
already extended much beyond the limits I had originally 
prescribed to myself. 


* This remark refers to the original German edition ; the whole series 
of works here alluded to by the Author are inserted in a collected form 
in the present volumeb 


T&ai?slatok'8 Faeface . . • - - Page ▼ 

Aunroa's PmKFAci ------ xvii 

I. I>EscB.tmoK OP Paiktikos ly Paus and tbe Nxthe&lakds in 
THE Years 1802 — 1804. 

Lkttee I. — Hie Gallery of the Loutre and the Collection of Pictures 
there exhibited. Obeerrations on some Works of the old Italian 
School, and the peculiar Genius and allegorical Style of Correggio's 
Compositions. On tbe Resemblance between Correggio and Leonwdo, 
and their Style and SchooL On the various Styles of Portrait 
Painting adopted by the old Masters, Holbdn, Leonardo, Titian, 
and Raphael. Conclusion, and Description of a few old Dutch 
Pictures by John Van Eydc, HemmeUnk, and Diirer - ! 

XjETTxa II.-— Characteristics of RaphaeL The difference between 
the old Schools of Italian Painting and the iVIodem Style. On the 
Selection of Christian Subjects for Painting, and the Manner in 
which the old Masters treated Mythological Subjects. Description 
of a few rentokable Paintings of the Spanish School, with Observa- 
tions on the general Principles on which the IMstinctiori between 
different Branches of the Art of Painting is founded - . 42 

liBixEa III. — The Treasures of the Art exemplified in a recapitula- 
tion of different Paindngs belonging to the old Italian School. 
The ** Cariti" of Andrea del Sarto, and a '^ Deposition from the 
Cross,** by Bramante ; the *< St Agatha " by Sebastian del Piombo. 
On Mar^rdom as a tfieme lor the Art, and the eariiest Subjeets of 
Christian Paintings. On Diirer's Designs, considered as suggestive 
Ideas for Paintings. The ** Madonna delLs Sedia '* and the "* Saint 
Cecilia," of RaphaeL Painting by Le Sueur. Remarks on a few 
antique early French Monuments; on Painting on Glass. The 
"Antiope** of Titian - - - - 72 


Letter IV. — The ''Victory of Alexander,'* by Altdorfer. Paint- 
ings of the old School of the Netherlands at Brussels ; Great Altar- 
piece by Raphael in the same City. The Gallery at Dusaeldorf ; 
'<The Grand Martyrdom,'* by Diirer; the "St John,*' and a 
" Holy Family," by Raphael. Guido and Rubens considered as 
the two opposite extremes of Mannerism in Painting. A Duplicate 
of the " St. Margaret ** of Raphael at Cologne ; a few Figures of 
Saints on a gold ground by Diirer. Old Cologne School of Faint- 
ing; • grand Altar-piece of the Three Kings, and the patron 
Saints of the City of Cologne. A Series of old Pictures of the 
Passion of Christ in the Lieversberg CoUection. Portrait of the 
Emperor Maximilian. Remarks addressed to the Painters of the 
present Day ..... Page 111 

II. PaiKcirLES OF Gothic AacHiTicTuas. ^ 

Notes of a Journey through the Netherlands, the Rhine Country, 
Switierlandy and a part of France, in the Tears 1804, 1805. 




1. On the Poetical Works of Giovanni Boceacdo^ 1801 - 200 

2. On the Romantic Poetry of the Middle Ages. Notice of a few 
rare Italian and Spanish Poetical Works. Observations on Ca- 
moens and Portuguese Poetry in general, with a Review of the 
Proven9al MS& at Paris ..... 224 

3. On the Poetry of the North .... 243 

4. Further Observations on Shakspeare's early Dramatic Works 272 

IV. Modern German Paintings. 

On the German Paintings exhibited at Rome in the Year 1819 • 283 

V. Romantic Fictions of the Middle Aoss. 

Pre&ce ....... S09 

*' Lother and Mailer,** a Tale of Chivalry, from an unpublished Ger- 
man Manuscript ...... sio 

VI. Miscellaneous Essays. 

1. Schloss Karlstein, near Prague^ 1806 ... 400 

2. The *' St. Cecilia," painted by Ludwig Sohnoir, I89S - 407 

VII. On the Limits of the Beautiful • • • 418 


VIII. Oir THE Lanouaok ako Philosophy op the Indians. 

Preface ...... Page 425 

Book I. Oh the Indian Language. 

Chap. 1. On the Indian Language generally - - 428 

2. On the Affinity of the Rdots . - .429 

3. On the Grammatical Structure ... 439 

4. On the two Principal Branches of Languages, accord- 

ing to their internal Construction - . 446 

5. On the Origin of Language - - - 453 

6. On the Difference existing between the most closely 

connected Languages, and a few remarkable inter- 
mediate Dialects - - - - 458 

Book XL On the Indian Philosophy. 

Chap. 1. Preliminary Remarks .... 465 

2. On the Doctrines of the Metempsychosis, and on 

Emanation ..... 468 

3. On Astrological Belief, and the wild Worship of Na- 

ture - - ... 477 

4. The Doctrine of the Two Principles of Dualism • 482 

5. On Panthebm - - - . - 489 

B(XMC III. HisxoftiCAL Ideas. 

Chap. 1. On the Origin of Poetry - - - 496 

3. On the earliest Emigration of Nations • - 500 
S. On Indian Colonisation and Indian legislature - 504 

4. On the general Importance of the Study of the Oriental 

and Indian Literature, and its true Aim and Object. 

Page 515 

General Index .-•««•- 527 








THE YEARS 1802.1804. 


The Gallery of the Lourre, and the Collection of Pictures there exhi- 
bited. — Observations on some Works of the old Italian School, and 
the peculiar Genius and allegoricdl Style of Correggio*s Compositions. 

— On the Resemblance between Correggio and Leonardo, and their 
Style and School. — On the various Styles of Portrait Painting 
adopted by the old Masters, Holbein, Leonardo, Titian, and Raphael. 

— Preliminary Observations on the general Character of Raphael.— 
Conclusion, and Description of a few old Dutch Picturea. by John 
Van Eyck, Hemmelink, and Diirer. 


September, 1802. 

Before entering into an examination of the pictures now 
exhibited in the Louvre, I shall attempt to give jou some 
idea of the gallerj itself, as this will, I think, contribute to 
render my description of the pictures more intelligible. 

The palace of the Louvre, though an ancient building, 
can boost but little architectural beauty; certainly not in 
that part of it adjoining the entrance to the Mus6e : it is, 
in fact, a gloomy, irregular edifice, such as in past years 
must have formed a fitting residence for the powerful and 
arbitrary sovereigns of those turbulent and uncivilised times. 
Under this character, the page of history has made its name 


2 PAINTINGS IN PARIS, 18Q2-1804. [letter I. 

familiar to us, and it seems thus, from the associations con- 
nected with it, but little fitted to form a temple for the 
noblest of the imitative arts. A small side door affords ad- 
mission to a collection of splendid pictures, which have 
recently been transplanted hither from their native Italian 
soiL Ascending one step, you enter a circular, well-lighted 
saloon, devoted to the worsLS of Italian art alone. On the 
right, a long, narrow gallerj stretches the whole length of 
one wing, which, extending along the bank of the Seine, 
connects Uie Louvre with the Tuileries. Here you encounter, 
first, the paintings of the French school, followed by the 
German and Flemish masters, comprising, however, but a 
very small proportion of the chefs-d'oeuvre of the old German 
school. Lastly come the Italian paintings. Among them 
we find the works of Baphael and his followers, together 
with the school of the Carracd ; nor would there be any 
reason to complain of the hanging and general arrangement, 
except that the light is feeble, and badly distributed. This 
long gallery opens into a smaller one, running in the same 
dir^ion, containing works not intended for immediate ex- 
hibition, or which require restoration : as, for example, the 
** Transfiguration" of Baphael, and the '^Madonn^ di Foligno," 
also by that master. Here^ unarranged, and resting care- 
lessly one upon another against the wall, we see the master- 
pieces of Ferugino, and of the delightful Giulio Romano, 
seen by few, and by fewer still admired and appreciated ! 
We now return to the Grand Salon : the only one, in fact, 
in which the pictures are seen to advantage, and the light 
judidoualy distributed. On the right is the Long Grallery, 
and the smaller one running parallel with it ; on the leflt, an 
apartment of moderate dimensions, in which are deposited 
the designs of the old masters, the cartoons of Raphael, 
Giulio Romano, &c. &c. : it contains also a few paintings in 
water-colours, and in the centre, on costly mosaic tables of 
lapis-lazuli and marble, stand a few of the most valuable of 
the Etruscan vases. 

I have here described the Grand Salon as I saw it in 1802. 
But amid the continual mutations occurring in this city, not 
even works of art can claim exemption from the general 
influence ; consequently the gallery of the Louvre no longer 
presents the same appearance as when I first visited it. The 


Grand Salon, and that appropriated to thp derignfl of the 
old masters, have been despoiled of their ancient treasures, 
in order to make room for the productions of modem artists, 
and they are now occupied bj what we should term ** An Ex- 
hibition." A few months must elapse before the pictures 
we love and reverence, or any others comparable to them in 
merit, again adorn the walls. The following description 
relates onlj to those which were to be seen at the time of 
my first inspection. I shall, with the assistance of a cata- 
logae* of that period, go through the whole ; but since then 
many alterations have been made even in the Long Gallery. 
A large number of the best and most famous paintings have 
l>een removed, in order, it is said, to adorn the palaces of 
St. Cloud and the Tuileries. I shall name onlj a few of 
the most valuable of the Italian school, which are now mis- 
sing : the "Foftuna** ofGuido; ''Kinaldo and Armida;" 
'* .£neas and Anchises," bj Domenichino ; the " Marriage of 
St. Catherine," and the '' Antiope" of Correggio : their places 
have been supplied bj a few other valuable pictures formerly 
in the Grand Salon, and also by some, which, though pre- 
viously enumerated in the catalogue of the Long Gallery, are 
not to be found in the present. I mention this circumstance 
at the commencement, in order to avoid the necessity of 
recurring to it hereafter : it will, I hope, be sufficient to con- 
vince every one of the impossibility of giving a full and 
complete description of all the pictures here. To this we 
may add, that many have been sent into the departments ; 
and I am assured by Visconti, that many highly esteemed 
works of Penigino are exiled thither, not having been con- 
sidered worthy a place in the national Mus^e. This will 
appear incredible, and I heartily wish it were in my power 

* The three catalogues bj whose mimben I hare been guided io this 
deseriptioD of the paintings in the Louvre, are the following : — ]. For 
the Grand Salon, -— ** Notice de plusieurs Tableaux reeueillis k V^nise, 
Florence, Turin, et Foligno, &c, ezpos^ dans le Grand Salon du 
Ifu^ ouTert le 18. Ventose, an 10.** 9. For the Long Gallery, — 
** Notice des Tableaux des Ecoles Franf aise et Flammande, dont I'ou- 
▼crture a eu lieu le 1 8. Germinal, an 7, et des Tableaux des Ecoles de 
Lombardie et de Bologne, dont Texposition a eu lieu le 25. Messidor, an 
9." S. For the Salon of Designs, — ** Notice des Desitins Originaux, 
£squisBes Peintes, Cartons, Gouaches, Sec, exposes en Messidor de Tan 10." 



to contradict an. assertion so injurious to the good taste of 
the Parisians. 

I know 70U will be gratified bj receiving a description of 
the most remarkable of the old pictures here exhibited : I 
also hope that my observations maj not be wholly devoid of 
interest even to others, who do not so completely enter into 
my feelings on the subject of the art, as yourself and a few 
other friends. In the first place, a tolerably complete de- 
scription of all the paintings which at that period were here 
exhibited, will already be historically valuable to many per- 
sons, as recalling to the mind, in a more connected form, 
things of which, amidst the changes and mutations daily 
occurring in this country, they may retain but a slight re- 
collection ; and secondly, every new collection of old paint- 
ings forms a separate body, a novel combination, in examining 
which the amateur often finds a new light thrown upon cir- 
cumstances which till then had perhaps been unnoticed or 
ill understood. 

A decided relation may be traced between all the works 
of any peculiar branch of the art, and, when examined in 
connexion, they mutually elucidate each other. But how 
widely scattered are all the members of this glorious body ! 
Who can presume to say he has seen even once all that de- 
serves to be studied and remembered ? And even supposing 
any individual to have been so fortunate, how, scattered as 
they are, can it be possible for his mind to retain a distinct 
and vivid impression of the whole ? Each lover of art, there- 
fore, feeling the impossibility of embracing more than a 
portion of the great united body formed by the old masters, 
would do well to fix upon some peculiar point, and thence to 
define, as clearly as may be, a circle comprising all that he 
has seen. I shall not myself attempt to conceal that when in 
the Mus6e at Paris, the Dresden Gallery frequently recurred 
to my mind ; and this remembrance was most useful to me, 
especially in regafd to Correggio, both collections being 
peculiarly rich in the works of this deep-souled painter •— 
works which become intelligible only when viewed in con- 
nexion, and which are still as vividly present to my mind as 
though I had looked on them but yesterday. My acquaint- 
ance with the Dresden Gallery was also most valuable to me, 
in regard to Raphael ; for the famous picture of the ** Mothef 



of Grod" (Madonna di San Sisto), by that master, at Dres- 
deDy is alone far superior in merit to anj which are to be 
seen in Paris. 

Before proceeding further, I wish to give a brief explana- 
tion of my opinions on certain points ; not so much^ indeed, 
for your information, — my opinions generally, and especially 
on subjects connected with the arts, being already familiar 
to you, — but for others who may think this volume worthy an 
attentive perusaL This explanation will serve both to define 
the limits I shall assign to my observations, and to demon- 
strate the principles on which they will be founded. 

I have little taste except for the earlier schools of Chris- 
tian art, and to them my remarks must necessarily be con- 
fined. Of the French and the more recent Italian school, I 
shall say nothing ; even in that of the Carracci. I rarely meet 
with compositions that fully develope and satisfy my ideas of 
the art, or seem entitled to peculiar notice. I have more 
than once examined attentively every picture in the Musee, 
and yet how many, notwithstanding my forced contempla- 
tion, are now entirely obliterated from my mind! The 
latest paintings that have power to touch my heart, and 
before which I willingly pause to meditate and admire, belong 
to this early school ; for I must confess that I see nothing 
irresistibly attractive in the cold, and often studied, grace of 
Gaido, nor am I captivated by the rose-and-lily-tinted carna- 
tions of Domenichino, unless these charms are made instru- 
mental in revealing to the mind that deep truth of character 
and design which belongs to the more profound and fully 
developed works of these masters. If, after contemplating 
the modem French or Dutch productions, we return to the 
study of this school, its compositions appear nobly conceived 
and executed ; if, on the contrary, we commence with the 
older Italian or Flemish masters, they lose all value and in- 
terest by the comparison. 

I can give no opinion of the masters belonging to this com- 
paratively later school, unless it be first conceded that, even in 
their time,the genius of painting had lost its early splendour. 
Titian, Correggio, Giulio Romano, Andrea del Sarto, Palma, 
and others of their clnsi, are, in my opinion, the latest painters 
worthy of the name. It is true, nevertheless, that the gifts 
of genius are not restricted to any one epoch ; nor must we 

G PAorrmos in paris, 1802-1804. [letter i. 

attempt to confine its influence within a circle of geometrical 
exactness. The history of art» on the oontraiy, like that of 
eyeryr free existence, has its irregularities ; thus, we some- 
times find, even among the ancient masters, paintings of 
but little value, and bearing but feeble indications of their 
genius, while, on the other hand, the productions of some 
later, and perhaps unknown artist, startle us occasionallj bj 
their near approach to all that is most perfect in conception 
and execution.* 

Thus we shall find no confused groups, but a few indivi- 
dual figures, finished with such care and diligence as bespeak 
a just idea of the beauty and holiness of that most glorious of 
all hieroglyphic images, the human form ; stem and serious 
figures, sharply outlined, and which seem starting from the 
canvas ; no contrast of effect, produced by blending chiaro- 
scuro and dark shadows (the brilliant reflection of light*illu- 
mined objects, thrown in to relieve the gloom of night), but 
pure masses of colour, laid on in distinct proportions — cos- 
tumes and draperies which appear to belong to the figures, 
no less from their appropriate arrangement, than from their 
simplicity. But in the countenance — there, where the light 
of the painter's genius most gloriously reveals itself — every 
variety of expression, or, rather, the roost complete indivi- 
duality of features, is to be met with ; yet each wearing a 
general aspect of childlike tenderness and simplicity, which I 
liave always considered as the original characteristic of the 
human race. This is the style of the old masters, and though 
such an avowal may convict me of partiality, I must acknow- 
ledge that this style alone commands my unqualified admir- 
ation, unless the departure from justified by any im- 
portant motive, as with Corr^gio, and other great painters, 
who were the first to practise that new manner which they 
bequeathed to their successors. 

These preliminary observations will give interest to my 
subsequenl remarks, as setting before your mind the point of 
view from which I examined these paintings. I nowproceed 

* We haTe a retj pleuing instaoee of the truth of this anertion in the 
picture of ** St Justin,** by Pordenone, in the collection at Vienna. This 
intelligent Venetian claims^ on the whole, but a subordinate poeition in 
the second rank of Italian masters ; jet, in that picture, he attains to a 
rare perfection in the highest points of artistic feeling and treatment. 


to give a general description of them, beginning with those 
in the Grand Salon« 

* Among the most remarkable there, I nnmber two pictures 
by Fra Bartolommeo, a master with whose works I had not 
before been acquainted (Nob. 28 and 29.X ^The Evan- 
geliBt, St Mark,** sitting with the great Bible in his hand, 
and <^ Christ with the Four Eyangelists." An intense 
Bpiritnalitj, one might almost say a glowing fire of devotion, 
peryadea both works, and penetrates to the inmost heart, 
figures like that of St* Mark few are capable of conceiving, 
much less of painting. I do not hold this to be the true 
' character of the art ; and the still, sweet beauty of Giovanni 
Bellini or Perugino, claims a far higher rank, in my estima- 
tion. • Yet Raphael himself disdained not to draw inspira- 
tion from the kindling fount of Fra Bartolommeo's genius ; 
and is it not to this spirituality that many of his most 
glorious works owe their soul-stirring infiuenoe ? On the 
other hand, it cannot be denied that the ''Christ Teaching'^ 
(the size of lifeX ^^ Bellini, at Berlin, is more holy and severe, 
and consequently more sublime and godlike, than that of Fra 
Bartolommeo. In the former we distinctly recognise Him 
who, though promulgating the holiest doctrines of love, yet 
came also to bring a sword into the world — Him, whose 
penetrating eye detects and pursues the enemy of all good, 
even in the deepest recesses of the human heart ; while the 
picture of Fra Bartolommeo may as appropriately represent 
any other prophet. Still execution, figure, features, com- 
plexion, and hair — aU, in the Fra Bartolommeo— have the 
general characteristics of ardour and inspiration. 

There are no pictures on which I have gazed so long and 
so intently, as on the two allegorical paintings by Mant^gna*, 

* Let deaz eompontions all^goriqiMi de Mantegna, qu*oii ¥ott i 1« 
galcrie dn LouYre* doiTent «pp«rteiiir i une ^poque da aa Tie ojk mm 
talcm avail atteint toute la force et toute la maturity dont il ^tait sus- 
ecptible. Dana Vune on Toit lea iieuf Muaea, qu'ApolIon fiiit dauer au 
too de n lyre ; aa deesiu, Man et Vteua, debout, avee dea tntta et 
daaa dea attitudes qai ii*ont rien de eommun avee le oyniame de la Tolupt^ 
pdenne; dun o5t!^ Vulcain dans sa forge; de Taiitre, Mereure tLV%o 
P<g a a e , dispose de maniire k former nn oontraste* qui se rattacbe sans 
dottte au groupe prineipal par an lien alUgorique aasea difficile k saisir. 
Quelquca-unes des Muses sont d'une bcauti raviMuite, sans avoir M 
eopiecs sar des statues antiques (la Danse des Muses^ par Joles Romaii^ 

a 4 

8 t>AINTIKGS IN PABI8, 1802>1804. [LETTER I. 

which form part of the original collection (No& 39 and 

The first, representing the Muses dancing on a green lawn 

in the foreground, is a verj remarkable composition. On 
the right of the spectator stands Mercury, holding the Pe- 
gasus, richly caparisoned. On the left of the dance, Apollo, 
plajing on the Ijre, seated on a block of stone, and above 
him, on the summit of a rock, Vulcan in his workshop, turn- 
ing a threatening glance towards the highest centre of the 
picture, where Venus stands with the god Mars, near a 
couch, both facing the spectator, with Cupid at their side, 
who appears to direct towards Vulcan the fire of jealousy and 
rage. On each side of the little hill on which Mars and 
Venus seem enthroned, two rocks are introduced, forming the 
sides of the picture, and rich in allegorical figures and refe- 
rences, difficult to decipher. It seems, however, sufficiently 
clear, that the cliff which encloses the workshop of Vulcan, 
is designed to represent the mysteries of nature and the art of 
painting, while that near which Mercury stands with the 
Pegasus, separated from the other by the verdant lawn 

est ^videmment un empnint ikit k Mantegna), et la figure de V^nus, 
d*un type non moins original ni moins gracieux, s^vdre, et chaste, malgr^ 
&a Dudit^ prouTe invinciblement que des imaginations chr^tiennes pou- 
vaient eoncevoir le beau, d^ioe mani^re ind^pendante, mSme en traitant 
des sujets pro&nes. 

Dans le second tableau, qui repr^nte une sorte de lutte entre le bon 
et le mauvais principe, le contraste est encore plus frappant que dans 
le premier, k cause des G^nies infemaux et des Vices, dont les figures 
hideuses sont mises en opposition avec les figures celestes de la Foi, de 
]*£sp£ranoo» et de la Charit^ L*homme qui a le plus TiTement senti 
Tart chr6tien dans les temps modemes, et qui portait dans ses jugements 
esth^tiques toute la eandeur d'une belle ame jointe aux lumi^res d\in 
beau g^nie, Fr^d^rio Schlegel, qui visita le Loutre dans le temps oii, 
par un brutal abus du droit de conqu^te, une multitude de cbeft-d'oeuvre 
de toutes les 6ooles Italienues y avaient M rdcemment aoeumul^s, ne 
craignaitpas d'avouer, au risque de passer pour un barbare, que ces deux 
ouvnges all^oriques de Mantegna ^taient* dans eette immense oollec* 
tion, oeux devant lesquels il s'arr^tait le plus souvent et le plus long- 
temps (vor keinem Gemahlde, &e.); et le dernier subjugait tellement 
son imagination, par son sens profond et par son caractere grandiose, que 
le seul digne 41oge qu'il eroyait pouvoir en faire ^tait de le comparer 
ATee les sublimes allegories de la Divina Conunedia du Dante. -^JDe la 
PoSm ehriUenoef Form§ de VArt Peiniure, par A. F. Rio, chap. x. 
p. 45a 

Letter i.[] allegorical jpictukes — MANTEONi. 9 

encircling it, may image to the mind the glowing spring of 
poetry and imagination. 

The colooring is ahnost glaring, and the figures, as maj 
be anticipated from this master, simple and severe. Venus, 
and a few of the Muses, are incomparably, divinely beautiful. 
Ginlio Romano, in his painting of the " Muses Dancing,"* has 
evidently borrowed from this picture of Mantegna.* A bac- 
chante-Uke figure, with flowing hair, bounds forward in the 
lightest and most graceful attitude ; and several of the more 
heroic muses, of whom we have only either a back or side 
view, are. of majestic proportions. In the centre stands one, 
looking towards the spectator — a most glorious face, yet 
austere and melancholy ; indeed, we feel that a sorrowful ex- 
pression pervades every countenance in the picture. The 
allegory is simple, and easily understood, nor by any means 
so unusual as that in its companion piece. 

In the latter f, holy women, armed or carrying torches, 
and attended by angels, are represented driving the per- 
«>nified vices before them into a sea, which occupies the 
foreground of the picture. On the left, we discover the 
Tree of Life, on the trunk of which is faintly traced the 
resemblance of a female form. In the clouds, on the right 
^de of the picture, are the heathen virtues, Justice, Courage, 
Temperance, returning again to earth. The action is con- 
fined to the shore of the sea before mentioned, amid shady 
walks surrounding the Tree of Life, and bowers through 
which we catch glimpses of the background; the same 
scene is there repeated and continued, representing the de- 
formed vices, hunted and pursued by every purer existence. 
This allegory is by no means obscure. 

The principal personages are undoubtedly intended to re- 
present, under female forms, the priestesses of the good prin- 
ciple, Hope, Love, and the uprightness of Christian faith ; 
that there should be among them many forms of exquisite 
beauty, is no more than we anticipate from this master ; 
but the misshapen hideousness and fearful deformity of 

* See note, anii, p. 7. 

t On a scroll attached to a laurel on the right of the picture is a Latin 
leg^rod, explaining the allegory, translated in. the French catalogue for 
1816. ** Deesses, compagnes des Tertus celestes, qui reviennent pamii 
nous, chaasex ees monstres d^goi^tans, peres des Tioes.** — Note by Trant, 

10 PAINTIKG8 or PARIS, 1802-1804. [letter l 

the beings personifying the different vices, is most surprising 
and remarkable. Many of them bear their names traced on 
their foreheads, as Ignorance, Ingratitude, Indolence, &c ; 
the last named is represented without arms, and so are many 
other shapeless forms, thrown together, as it were, at ran- 
dom. The air is filled with evil spirits, winged children with 
bodies like bats, and other loathsome creatures. I cannot 
better describe the whole scene than by comparing it to the 
allegorical descriptions of hell in Dante's Inferno. Here we 
have palpable evidence of a master whose whole soul was 
fraught with images of ideal beauty, yet intentionally de- 
picting ugliness when it became a necessary element of that 
strife between the principles of good and evil, to exhibit 
which was the paramount design of the old masters. 

If we compare these works with the famous ^ Madonna 
della Vittoria," by the same master, we are wonderfully struck 
with the beauty, gentleness, and benevolence of the latter. 
Indeed, so widely different are they in this respect, that they 
have been supposed to belong to different epochs : the latter 
may possibly be an intentional imitation of the strle of some 
young and graceful master ; the former certainly more re- 
semble the beautiful manner of Bellini. 

A few general observations may be made on both these 
masters. How beautifully, when the allegory permits^ does 
Mantegna multiply the reflection of the eternal harmonies 
in a thousand allegorical forms of joy and rapture ; and yet^ 
when his subject demands it, imparts an intense expression 
of sad and bitter feeling, which, by its striking contrast with 
the former, illustrates the strife between good and eviL The 
paintings of Fra Bartolommeo are, in the strictest sense of 
the word» ecclesiastical paintings ; and show clearlv how, at 
a period when the idea of religion was a living principle in 
every heart, the inspiration of devotion alone sufficed to give 
success to the efforts of the painter. In later times, when 
religious sentiments had ceased to have the same influence, the 
artist was compelled to borrow other charms ; and, no longer 
impressed with the full power of his subject, found the con- 
straint of the theme, and the limits within which he was 
necessarily confined, doubly irksome. The composition fre- 
quently became, in consequence, either forced or trifiing ; 
at the best, cold, both in design and execution. 


Some magnificent paintings bj Titian are in the Grand 
Salon. The largest and most beautiful is No. 68. (San Pietro 
Martire); the subject, two holj men, overtaken and mur- 
dered hj robbers. Above them is a single angel, holding in 
hia hand the martyr's crown of palm. This painting owes its 
pecaliar charm to the beauty of the skj and the landscape ; 
and still more, perhaps, to the vivid impression of reality 
which it conveys. We seem actually to gaze upon the scene, 
and were such a landscape indeed before our eyes, we should 
exclaim, '' How like a painting ! What a picture !" 

Titian so seizes and depicts the human figure in his por- 
truts, that they seem starting into life, and have a far nobler 
expression than we usually meet with in the works of 
modern times. He undoubtedly stands alone in this style, 
for both Holbein and Leonardo have treated their portraits 
very differently. I am much inclined to consider this pre- 
dilection for what strikes the eye with a vivid impression of 
reality, as the peculiar characteristic of Titian's style. You 
know how I once attempted to make Correggio's manner more 
intelligible, by characterising him as a musical painter. How 
natural is it to suppose that the genius of different arts may 
sometimes be disposed to unite in one, associating and blend- 
ing in close affinity I We wish neither to praise nor blame this 
loo hastily ; enough that it is so, and our endeavour should 
therefore be to discover and trace this peculiarity, and above 
all things to employ its aid in understanding the conceptions 
of the painter, and the expression he actually designed to 
convey. Whether we consider painters who have what may 
be termed a musical expression, or others, whose manner 
partakes more of the character of sculpture, or even of 
architecture, I see no reason why, if a painter's genius lead 
him to select one style in preference to others, he may not, 
without diverging into all the peculiarities of another art, 
80 associate them with his own as to heighten its expression 
by concentrating the characteristic features of both* 

To Titian, however, these remarks do but partially apply ; 
his inclination being rather for what most vividly strikes the 
eye, we may bestow upon him the appellation of a theatrical 
or dramatic painter. But this intention ought clearly to be 
understood, and every accessory notion, which might other- 
wise appear forced or unnaturally exaggerated, attributed to 

12 PAINTINGS IN PAIUS, 1802-1804. [LETTER 1. 

this desire of bringing the whole scene vividlj before the 
imagination. The remark is certainly applicable to the later 
manner of this master, and to the large picture before men- 
tioned. Two paintings of the ** Madonna and Child," (Nos. 
71 and 72.), of the old collection, belong unquestionably to an 
earlier period, and are, in mj opinion, infinitely more pleas- 
ing. A '* Deposition from the Cross," in the Long Gallery 
(No. 941.), reminds me of the quick-handed Paul Veronese. 
Both the small paintings are far more serene, child-like, and 
modest, and not so theatrical as his later style. Keality here 
appears to have been the painter's chief aim, and though more 
lofty in conception as well as in treatment, it might, in this 
respect, be compared with the Flemish pictures of domestic 
life ; in other points, however, it is widely different. A 
'* Crowning with Thorns," in the Long Gallery (No. 940.), is 
painted in the same style, but with more regard to effect, 

I have described these pictures here, being unwilling to 
break the connexion between them. I shall, however, pass 
over the portraits mentioned in the catalogue of the Grand 
Salon, as well as the works of Raphael there exhibited, in 
order to treat of the whole in common. 

I have remtirked that many painters, especially among 
those belonging to a later epoch of the old schools, decline 
sensibly in idea and design, although equally, or perhaps 
even more, successful in the mechanical portion of their art, 
and the command of materials. Still, the vigour and strength 
of their conceptions, and the grace and harmony of their 
style, being sensibly impoverished and diminished, the ori- 
ginal strength and purity of their genius can be recognised 
in their early compositions alone. This difference is in none 
more strikingly apparent than in Titian. 

In the apartment appropriated to paintings intended to be 
repaired and restored, I found a beautiful work of Titian's, 
in his earliest manner, and on the same reduced scale as the 
before-mentioned Madonnas. The subject is a landscape, 
with figures — naked women and a few men sitting on the 
ground, playing upon musical instruments. The execution 
is very fine, but the figures of the women are lorge — almost 
clumsy. I was here led to remark a very general peculiarity 
in this master ; his predilection for glowing carnations, does 
tnot tend, like that of Correggio, to render the fiesh more 


transparent, and to diffuse tliroughout the whole an expres- 
sion of Toluptuous delight : he rather seeks by the intensity, 
strength, and incomparable purity of his colouring, to fill and 
satiate the eye* The aim at transparency, on the contrary, 
tends invariably to confuse the painter's idea of true colour- 
ing, and leads him to sully the original pure tint of the flesh 
bj the intermixture of blue, red, or greenish shadows. 

My opinion of Titian, though formed after the study of 
all these excellent works, would have been far from correct, 
had I not learned a more just appreciation of his merits 
from a *' Head of Christ," which has long hung in the Grand 
Salon, though it is not named in the catalogue. The co- 
loaring of this head is so pure, so exquisite, that it alone 
fulljr justifies all the eulogiums bestowed upon Titian. 

It is treated as a portrait, and for this reason, perhaps, 
too strongly marked with the Jewish character. Still, it is 
almost as severe in outline and expression as the Christ of 
Bellini, at Dresden ; the penetrating black eyes especially. 
The head is in profile, llie hand upraised to bless and dis- 
tinguished by the sjmbol of the Trinity, and the soft halo 
ronnd the head, remind us of the highest and holiest attri- 
butes of the God-man, of whom, indeed, this representation 
is in every respect most worthy. The clear sky in the back- 
ground, the bold dark blue, and brilliant crimson of the 
mantle, the black hair and beard, and clear olive complexion, 
render the whole a masterpiece of symbolic colouring. 

There are many remarkable points in a '' Deposition from 
the Cross," by Andrea del Sarto, and two dramatic pictures, 
by the same master, from the story of Joseph. 

I call them dramatic pictures, because, as is frequently the 
case with the old masters, each represents many different 
periods of the same history, so that the same personages are 
presented to our view, perhaps four or five times, in various 
scenes and situations. The subjects are all, however, on a 
small scale, and the figures in the background, though 
somewhat lessened in proportions, differ very little from the 

A picture by Falma Yecchio (No. 43.), is incomparably 
more charming, and displays far greater depth of imagination. 
The subject is a shepherd praying to the infant Christ. It 
b impossible to describe the vivid impression of truth and 

14 FAiNTmGS m PABI8, 1802-1804. [letter i. 

reality given hj the figure of this shepherd He is all sup- 
plicatioii, devotion, and fervoar. His dress remarkably poor 
and simple, bat the countenance noble beyond expression. 

A splendid painting by Giulio Bomano, ** The Circum- 
cision of the Infant Christ ^ (No. 25,), attracted my attention, 
and seems worthy of notice. 

A throng of men, many of them distinguished by personal 
beauty, and all joyous, or at least calm and happy, are assem- 
bled in a richly adorned and splendid temple. I doubt 
whether the severer taste of the early masters would have 
approved the choice of such an assemblage on such an occa- 
sion. But the peculiar bias of these Bomish painters, I mean 
the predilection for heathen pomp and splendour which so 
absolutely governed their lofty imaginations, is in this paint- 
ing beautifully and effectively exemplified. I trace the same 
character, though more resplendent in its triumphant fulness 
'of life and joy, in the cartoons for tapestry, exhibited in the 
Salon of Designs, and a very dose resemblance also in the 
tapestry after Baphael, which we have so often studied 
together at Dresden. Tapestry, from the same designs, is, 
as you know, here also, in the Church of St Boch, which 
was hung with it on the festival of that saint, but I saw it 
for so short a time that I cannot venture to give any descrip- 
tion of it. Tapestries similar to all those we have at Dresden, 
are to be seen here ; in some parts far better rendered, in 
some, however, far worse : besides these, there are several 
here exhibited not now in existence there, all treated in the 
same manner, but not all equally beautiful. Did not both 
Baphael and Giulio Bomano draw their inspiration from the 
same source ? or rather, as the master may occasionally have 
allowed himself intentionally to imitate the manner of his 
pupil, so the highest praise we can award to the most suc- 
cessful efibrts of Giulio Bomano's genius is, that we recognise 
in them the style and character of his master. 

This appears to agree with the known character of Baphael, 
whO) with surprising versatility, united in his compositions 
the most opposite styles and manners; while by a beauty of 
form, a delicious grace and inspiration, peculiar to himself, 
he endowed them with new and unwonted charms of soul 
and expression. This remark applies equally to the very 
earliest epoch in his paintings, at which time tbey are scarcely 
to be distinguished from those of his master Perugino, and 


to the later, wlfen he was in some measure inflaenced hj 
the dangerous example of Michekngelo. A predilection 
for the abundant life and magnificence of the old heathen 
times, which Giolio Romano frequently seeks to introduce 
into the representation of Christian events, is, in this paint* 
ing, strikingly apparent, both in the group surrounding the 
h^int Christ, and the gorgeous temple in which the scene 
is had* I think also that I recognise the same inclination 
in the ** Holy Family " (No. 36.) : indeed, my own leelings 
tod impressions would leave me no doubt as to the painter, 
even were there not other and historical grounds which have 
induced critics to assign the picture (as is mentioned in the 
eatalogue) to Raphael or one of his scholars. 

In describing the paintings in the Long Gallery, I shall 
CO longer mention each one singly, as I have hitherto done, 
but, to avoid wearying and confusing you with a multitude 
of unconnected descriptions, arrange all under a few general 
beads ; as, for example, the master, the style, the school, or 
nation, to which they belong : or by some other general 
points of resemblance. 

I begin with Correggio, whose paintings it cost me a long 
and earnest study to comprehend. Even this difficul^ may 
in itself have proved an additional attraction, for I must 
acknowledge that I have always felt a peculiar preference for 
his works, and that, under certain restrictions, I am disposed 
to consider him entitled to a very high rank among the 
masters of his time. I am aware that many inteSgent 
artists, educated in Rome, are of a different opinion, and 
bUme this master not a little, because his compositions do 
not harmonise with their ideas of correctness of design and 
ideal forms. I should attach more importance to their 
<^inion, had I not observed that the critics themselves 
rarely penetrate the whole deep meaning of the painter; 
nay, are frequently quite ignorant of it, having never given 
themselves time to examine his works in connexion. I must 
first insist on his being studied and understood: the rest 
win soon follow. And it ought to be easy, since these designs 
are most deeply imbued with what constitutes the vital spirit, 
the predominant idea of the old Italian schools : yet, on the 
contrary, designs and forms, correct and noble-in their appro- 
priate application and connexion, are, by merely .superficial 
obiervQri, made the grounds for censure of this great master^ 

16 PAiNTmGS IN PARIS, 1802-1804. [letter I. 

It must, in the first place, be remembered that it is impos- 
sible to comprehend Correggio's paintings, except in their 
mutual] relation and connexion; many of them reciprocally 
explaining each other, and some even bearing direct reference 
to others among his compositions. 

In the Dresden Grallerj the finest works of this master are' 
collected, and it consequently becomes comparatively easy to 
study and comprehend him ; yet the treasures of the Pari- 
sian Museum afford a rich supplement to those at Dresden, 
and the examination of them has confirmed me beyond all 
doubt in the opinions which I had there formed and believed 
to be correct. 

Correggio has not only, like Leonardo, given to all his 
countenances the same delicious smile, be frequently even 
repeats the same entire coimtenance in different paintings, 
which cannot fail to be recognised, and even to startle us by 
the strongest marks of identity. This is the case in the 
« Martyrdom of St. Placidio and Santa Flavia " (No. 758.). 
The countenance of the latter is precisely similar to that of 
the old man in the celebrated '' Notte,"* although he is un- 
doubtedly ugly rather than beautiful. The angel in the 
" Repose," or the " Flight into Egypt" (No. 754.), closely re- 
sembles one of those by the side of the Madonna, in the 
<' St Sebastian" at Dresden. In (No. 756.) the '' Marriage of 
St. Katherine and the Infant Christ," the countenance of that 
saint, and also liiat of the Magdalene in the '* St Jerome " 
(No. 753.), remind us of the Madonna in the *^ St George " 
at Dresden, who smiles so delightfully, and almost gaily ; not 
to mention many other instances in which, though the re- 
semblance may not be quite so vivid, we trace such an un« 
doubted similarity of outline, that they may justly be com* 
pared to musical variations on one same melody or theme. 
You will find at Dresden many pictures which fully justify 
my assertion, though, in a distant country, and after so long 
an absence, I cannot venture to particularise them. 

As there are poets whose poems are evidently linked one 
with another, and which, notwithstanding the greatest va- 
riety of outward form and materials, yet betray an inten- 
tionial relation to each other, so that all appear designed to 

* La Nadfit^ de Notre Seigneur ou I'Adoratioii des Bergers. Gal. 
de Dresde; Catalogue 1782. 


work out the same principles, and might even be considered 
as forming only one poem ; as they continually present to 
us, in varied sitoations, the same few characters, which are 
all marked by a strong family resemblance, and seem less to 
imfold the riches of their poetic fancy in the theme, which 
is often very simple, than in their numerous variations on 
it ; — 80 it is with the paintings of Correggio. His figures 
are to him what melody is to tho musician, who, by the 
simplest chords, unlocks a world of deep and thrilling melody. 
Yet, however narrow may be the circle of his images, how- 
ever uniform the manner of their treatment, they never fail 
to communicate to the imagination such an overflowing 
abundance of feeling and thought, as genius alone has the 
power to awaken. 

The figures and grouping, which other painters often 
make their chief object, are to Correggio only the means to 
be employed in conveying the intention of the whole ; they 
are the leading harmonies of the strain, — the words or 
syllables of the poem. His paintings are all allegorical, or, 
if this term seem too vague, too undefined to be applied to 
his varied compositions, I should rather say that allegory is 
the vital principle, the characteristic feature of all: and 
truly one kind of allegory alone pervades the whole, the 
object of which is to portray the strife and combat between 
the principles of good and evil. We cannot, therefore, com- 
pare it with that commonplace allegory which is embodied in 
the designs and inculcated in the works of modern painters ; 
that sort of allegory, I mean (if, indeed, it be worthy of the 
name), which, far from opening to the mind revealings of the 
eternal and invisible, merely presents to the senses abstract, 
and at the same time contracted, and precise ideas, under the 
garb of symbols or hieroglyphics. You will at once per- 
ceive that it is not to such allegory as this that my observa- 
tions can apply. 

The most striking instance of allegorical design is to be 
found in the famous *' Notte ;" and by considering the com- 
position under this light, we are enabled to understand the 
intention of some peculiarities in it, which must otherwise 
excite the greatest surprise ; I mean the fact that a painter 
who loves and luxuriates in objects of beauty and delight, 
should nevertheless have imagined and portrayed forms sq 

18 PAINTINGS IK PA^Sy' 1802-1804. [LETTER L 

hideous as those of the old man and the aged shepherd, in 
the left foreground of that picture ; but he wished to attract 
all eyes to the blessed child bom for the salvation of man- 
kind, and shining with pure and holy light on the darkness 
of a ruined world. In order the more forcibly to work out 
this idea, the single ray of light which illumines the picture, 
is made to emanate from the body of the Saviour ; nor is it 
thus introduced without profound thought and meditation, 
and ivith a far higher design in view than merely to excite 
astonishment and admiration of the painter's wonderful skill 
in the management of lights and chiaroscuro. Considering 
the subject in this point of view, what could be more finely 
imagined, than instead of leaving the glory of the divine 
appearance to be reflected back by the beauty and radiance 
of a few lovely and joyous forms alone, to call to mind the 
guilt and darkness of this degraded and ruined earthly world, 
and its deep need of a redeeming light, by contrasting that 
glorious beauty with other and earthborn images of pain and 
sufi«ring ? And we cannot but extol the just judgment which 
prompted him even to exaggerate these features beyond 
their ordinary degree. This has evidently been the chief 
design and object of the painter ; but it may well be diffi* 
cult for those, in whose hearts the idea of religion is so 
strange a guest, that they have never thought of summoning 
her to the assistance of their fancy, to unravel and enter 
into the designs of the old masters. Every idea expressed 
in the celebrated ** Notte" of Correggio, is most harmonious 
and natural, and can scarcely fail to lead the mind above, 
where the countenance of Christ shines in glorious beauty 
over alL The design and intention in the two large altar« 
pieces at Dresden, the *^ St. George " and the '*St. Sebastian," 
wander much further from the usual track of Correggio's 
compositions. In the first, the blessed Virgin wears an 
expression of loveliness and benevolence which seems almost 
childlike in its simple truth. All in the glowing heaven speaks 
of joy, gladness, and brightness ; for this reason the land- 
scape and the colouring are both so brilliant and transparent, 
and for the same reason, probably, the picture is encircled 
by glowing fruits and wreaths of the loveliest flowers. In this 
painting an artist may discover the true value and appro- 
priate employment of flower-pieces, which, when torn from 
their place as harmonious elements in the organisation and 


!.:■ .H 





combination of some grand composition, lose all signification, 
tnd appear but an inferior branch of art The attempt to |j;| 

form a separate work out of materials which are reallj valua- 
ble onlj wheo, bj judicious association, thej heighten the 
effect of a perfect composition, must infallibly rob them both 
of dignity and signification. The most charming features 
in the " St. George," are, the body of the child in the fore- 
ground, the smile of Mary, and the heavenly countenance 
of St John. Here, again, we trace a similitude to that 
chord in music which forms the basis of a melody. It can- 
not be denied that Correggio, as a painter, abounds with ez- 
qaisite touches, and though even these may, to prejudiced 
minds, appear to afford grounds for censure rather than 
commendation, yet I am well convinced that they intrinsically 
belong to the before-mentioned peculiarities of his style ; I 
mean, the musical arrangement of his ideas and his predilec- 
tion for allegory. And further, these brilliant touches, far 
from being on any occasion introduced by hazard, are, on the 
contrary, deeply considered, and not merely the offspring of a 
love of beauty and beautiful forms, but are each the work- 
ing out of some principle, heightening and making more in- 
telligible the deep individual feeling of the whole. Joyous, 
and beaming with benevolent affection, as is this picture of 
Correggio's, even here, both in the body of St George and 
in other parts of the picture, we trace the influence of that 
idea, which either palpably governs, or at least is dimly 
shadowed forth in every composition of this great master, — 
the setting forth in most striking colours the struggle and 
conflict between the powers of good and eviL It is true 
that we are not here, as in the '^Notte,*' startled by 
^he fearful contrast between heavenly light and beauty on 
the one hand, and the darkest deformity on the other ; every 
feature of the latter is, on the contrary, softened and almost 
Bubdued ; the evil principle seems almost overpowered, and , 

the good triumphantly ascendant This contrast is much ^t^ 

niore apparent in the " St. Sebastian," in which the mother '^ 

of God, as if the glory surrounding her were intended to sug- 
gest a comparison with her own, is represented in the 
shining beams of the sun, like a scriptural symbol of the 
true faith of eternal love : and why should it be questioned 
that the painter, considering darkness and light as au- 


If J 

20 PAINTINGS IN PARIS, 1802-1804. [LETTER!. 

thorized emblems of good and evil, expressed the existence 
of the former by robing each countenance in light, its ap- 
propriate scriptural and ecclesiastical symbol.* 

We trace so remarkable an affinity between each of the 
three large church paintings of Correggio, that to assign 
them to yerj distant periods of time, or to separate them 
from the great bodj of paintings just noticed, I can hardly 
think to be correct ; for, notwithstanding the diversity of 
their subjects, the same peculiar characteristics run through 
them all, and, like different parts or cantos of the same poem, 
they are perfect in signification and beauty only when com- 
bined. In fact, these three pictures, the ** Notte," "St. 
George,** and " St. Sebastian," may each be called the key to 
some peculiarity in Correggio's second manner. The divine 
painting at Dresden, which represents St. John the Baptist 
and the blessed St. Francis, belongs unquestionably to an 

* Tliere is no subject in which the contrast between light and darkness, 
and the influence of the good and ctiI principle, can be so expressively 
brought forward as in that of the ** Last Judgment,** where the fiend*like 
rage and despair of the accursed on the one side» and the heaTenly ra- 
diance of the blessed on the other, afford full scope for developing the 
most powerful elements of this conflict. 

This subject has, therefore, been from the earliest period a favourite 
with the old masters, and is one of the most frequent primitive repre- 
sentations of Christian art. 

Long before MicheUngelo*s gigantic representation of the ** Day of 
Judgment** threw his contemporaries, and the world of art itself, into 
astonishment, the meditative Angelico, in the modest infancy of the art, 
had in several of his little pictures attempted to depict the judgment of 
the Lord in his own pious manner, and within the narrow limits of a few 
square feet ; and though the figures of the damned give evidence, that to 
represent these successfully did not lie within the sphere of his genius, yet, 
in the choirs of the blessed, on the contrary, a most heavenly imagination 
if discoverable, whether we see them, as most commonly represented, 
forming groups with the angels, or in their reunion with those loved 
ones from whom they had on earth been separated. 

The expression of the Redeemer's countenance, also, is incomparably 
more correct than in the same subject as designed by the later and greater 
master, Michelangelo, who too often allows himself to be betrayed into a 
theatrical style and expresuon. The legend of Cyril and Methodius 
sufficiently proves the antiquity of this subject in the Christian world. 
Being engaged in an attempt to convert the King of Bulgaria and other 
Sclavonian nations of that country, they are said to have employed a 
painting of the Last Judgment, in order the more clearly to exhibit to 
these pagan nations the heavenly rewards of the good, and the eternal 
damnation of the wicked. 


earlier period, and deserves to be mentioned before anj of 
this master's compositions — at leasts in his later manner — 
and more nearlj approaches the style of the early masters. 
Each of the three paintings I have named, indicates some 
peculiarity of Correggio's manner, and the Mus4e at Paris 
afibrds a rich illustration of this opinion* 

The pictures which first attracted my notice in this collec* 
tion are two, of small dimensions, and in them the strong 
contrasts with which Correggio is usually reproached are 
scarcely perceptible; the first picture representing simple 
happiness in its most ravliant form, and the second an un* 
paralleled excess of misery. The subject of the first, is the 
*' Marriage of St. Katherine to the Infant Jesus/' Behind the 
flaint stands St. Sebastian, his countenance turned directly 
towards the spectator, and radiant with joy. Little more can 
be said of this picture, in which the smiling grace for which 
Correggio is so remarkable, is exalted and refined into almost 
unsullied beauty. A group of smaU figures is just discernible 
in the background, and, from the subject, it appears designed 
to represent the martyrdom of St Sebastian, while a similar 
group, still more difiicult to decipher, is probably intended 
for that of St. Katherine ; but the background of this picture 
is so dark, that it is difficult, without the closest inspection, 
to distinguish either group. This picture, though a half- 
length only, is one of the most generally admjred of all Cor- 
r^gio's compositions ; its bright, cloudless beauty attracting 
the attention even of those who cannot enter into the deeper 
intention of this master's designs. In my opinion, however, 
the second painting is by far the most profoundly imagined* 
The subject is a ** Deposition from the Cross," and it has 
been much censured, both by artists and the public, who, 
though guided by feeling and impulse alone, yet frequently 
form correct opinions. It is alleged that the figures forming 
the group assembled round our Saviour's body, are, many of 
them, decidedly ugly, and others, though noble in form, are 
placed in unquestionably awkward attitudes. But surely 
this objection is most superficial. How can the agony of 
intense grief be otherwise or more appropriately expressed ? 
And is not such grief as the painter here designed to 
portray far beyond any sorrow we have ever known ? If he 
strips the mourners of all that beauty with which he might 

c 3 

22 PAINTINGS m PARIS, 1802-1804. [letter i. 

so easily have invested them, it is onlj because, in his wisdom, 
he sees fit to lavish all on the body of the Redeemer. Many 
of those whom I have led to study this picture, though at first 
sight shocked, and almost appalled, have been obliged to con- 
fess that the body of the Bedeemer is unspeakably lovely — 
indeed, it could scarcely have been rendered more so ; still it is 
but a corpse — a corpse both in form and position ; instinct, 
nevertheless, with beauty and melancholy grace — a living 
picture of death in its loveliest form. Is there not far more 
truth and ideality in a conception such as this, than in the 
ordinary practice of painters, who, while the body of Chri^ 
becomes beneath their hand an object of horror, and even 
aversion, contrast with it some kneeling Magdalene, graceful 
and beautiful in her softly flowing tears, yet on whose fea- 
tures the pang of anguish, the real bitterness of grief, has 
left no trace ? Even Andrea del Sarto's design on the same 
subject appears, by its side, superficial and commonplace. It 
were scarcely just, however, to follow up this comparison to 
the disadvantage of so meritorious a painter as Andrea : for 
the one true idea of the subject has been so completely appro- 
priated and developed by Correggio, that every other con- 
ception must be regarded with indifierence, if not with dis- 

Two other church pictures, by the same master, here ex- 
hibited, afibrd, much scope for reflection, especially the 
" Repose," • in* the "Flight into Egypt." The mother is, 
with a sheU, dipping water from a gushing spring ; the father 
gathering fruit from a palm tree; for which the child, or 
rather boy, extends his hand, though at the same time wait- 
ing to drink from the shell held by his mother : his hand 
raised, as in the act of blessing, displays the usual symbol 
of the Trinity. 

The clouds in this picture have been censured as too heavy 
and massive ; yet, their being so, is doubtless the intention 
of the painter. Amid the branches of the tree from which 
the father is gathering fruit, angels are hovering ; and the 
clustering leaves and stems, thick and interwoven, blend with 
the heavy clouds, and thus crowd the upper part of the pic- 
ture, which appears enclosed as if in a frame. Although it 
cannot be doubted that the painter had some design in this 
disposition, the result of my meditations on the subject is not 
* Madonna della Scodella. Now in the gaUerj of Parauu 


sufficiently satisfactorj to allow me to attempt an explana- 
tion. Xhe indecision expressed in the countenance of the 
child, as be hesitates whether to accept first the fruit or the 
water about to he offered him, and the introduction of the 
symbol of the Trinity, are so much the more remarkahle, 
becaaae not seen in the original sketch of this composition, 
which is preserved in the Salon of Designs, and in which I 
observed several other variations: the child in the first 
design appears mych older, and more formed. 

There, are two other small paintings, in water-colours, by 
the same master (Nos. 64a and 646.) : one represents the 
** Triumph of Virtue," the wicked lying bound beneath her 
feet) mrhile an attendant spirit places a crown upon her head. 
On the right of these figures (the spectator's left), are seen 
the heathen virtues, Justice, Courage, and others, with their 
attribntes ; opposite to them is a heavenly figure, leaning on 
the globe, and pointing to a spot which is illumined by a ray 
from above, seeming to indicate that there the light of the 
world, the Holy Child Jesus, was born. Under the globe, 
and at the feet of Virtue, lies a beast with the head of a dog, 
or, perhaps, a wolf; it has fins and scales like a fish, and in 
parts resembles various other animals. The posture of this 
beasty and the grouping of the whole, is wonderfully incor- 
rect and confused, and the drapery, moreover, of the reclin- 
ing figure, seems so disposed as intentionally to increase the 
confusion ; a part of the strangely-formed animal below is 
hidden by, or rather seems absorbed into, the circumference 
of the globe itself. It would be scarcely possible for me to 
make my description of this picture more intelligible than 
the composition itself* None of the many artists and con- 
noisseurs whom I have led to examine it, have ever succeeded 
in unravelling its apparent confusion, or deciphering its 
meaning ; yet I think we may conclude, without any undue 
deference to this enlightened master, that even this confusion 
has its design, and is in some way indicative of the struggle 
between virtue and vice. 

I now return to the church pictures. The most striking 
feature in the St. Jerome*, is the loveliness of the Magda- 

• «I1 Giorno." Now in the galleiy of Parma. It is called "the 
Daj^ in opposition to the fkmous ** Notte or the Night j** the St. Jerome 
beiog as remarkable for its joyous brightness as the ** Notte" is for 

o 4' 

24 PAINTINGS IN PARIS, 1802-1804. [lettee I. 

lene. She is represented bending forward to kiss the foot 
of the holy child, and her lips, her soft round cheek, and 
flowing hair, in w}:ich the child's little hand is half hidden, 
form a most exquisite picture : nothing, indeed, can be con- 
ceived more pure and fascinating than the love, tenderness, 
and devotion which invest this beautiful figure. 

Another painting — the Antiope — contrasts strikingly 
with the former, and affords an example of the more glowing 
and earthly character of Correggio's second manner : it is 
the onlj composition on a mythological subject here ex- 
hibited. We remark a striking difference in the treatment 
of this picture, and in those drawn from Christian subjects ; 
in the latter, even when designed to exhibit earthly beauty 
and laughing loveliness, both are frequently veiled and al- 
most hidden, in order the better to harmonise with the 
general design of the allegory. It was, however, so com- 
pletely the character of Correggio's genius to embody the 
governing principle of whatever subject he selected, that 
in this mythological composition, his manner is entirely dif- 
ferent. We have no reason to suppose his researches into 
ancient lore to have been more profound than those of his 
contemporaries, and he therefore discovered no higher ob- 
ject in the voluptuous fables of the ancients than the repre- 
sentation of natural beauty in all its unveiled luxuriance. 
Consequently he depicts his Antiope as a lovely woman, 
lying in smiling slumber, dazzling the eyes of the beholder 
with the joy-intoxicating spectacle of her growing charms : 
at her feet is a sleeping Cupid. 

It is very difficult to obtain a good view of this picture, 
and, after various trials, I am convinced that it requires to 
be hung so low as to be, at least, on a level with the eye — 
perhaps even lower. 

We know that Correggio was remarkably happy in design- 
ing his church pictures in such a manner that their effect is 
heightened by being looked at from below; and it is not 
impossible that the Antiope may have been designed with a 
contrary intention ; perhaps at the desire of some rich pa- 
tron, who wished it fitted for a particular place or destina- 
tion in his house. 

gloom. Kiigler cays, p. S45., *' The pure light of day isdifiused over 
the picture ; the figures seem surrounded as it were by ethereal light.** 
Kiigler calls it ** St Jerome, or the Dsy." 


I must at length bid adieu to Correggio, on whom I have 
dwelt so long and assiduously, not because I consider him a 
model of correctness, but hoping, from his example, to prove 
both to artists and amateurs that the conceptions and manner 
of the old masters differ so widely from our own as to render 
it impossible to form an opinion of their merit by compa- 
rison with our established notions of ideal and antique 
beauty. I now proceed to notice another order of painters, 
whom I may style the heroic artists of their times, not only 
from the severe and antique character of their genius, but 
more still from the profundity of their designs, the univer- 
sality and unearthliness of their expression ; their colouring 
combining with the whole in musical and celestial harmony, 
communicates to the gazer's heart a rapturous sensation, yet 
tempered and subdued into the most soothing tranquillity. 
Their genius has thus created for them an enduring monu- 
ment, in which the noblest efforts of creative art and the 
loftiest ideas are united in surpassing grace and symmetry, 
while the lavish richness and triumphant luxuriance of the 
existence they depict, fill the eye and heart with wonder 
and delight. 

I shall first notice Leonardo da Vinci, whose manner ap- 
proximates so nearly to that of Correggio, that the considera- 
tion of their respective compositions is alone sufficient to 
induce the belief that Correggio probably studied with and 
after Leonardo. 

Indeed, both are equally severe in their outlines ; the go- 
verning idea of strife between the good and evil principle is 
in both equally apparent, and the development of each 
individual portion of the design as subjectively* true : the 

* In considering the productions of human genius, the Germans 
slvmTS carefully distinguish between the objectoor materials on which the 
n&iad works, and the manifestation of the individual mind in treating them. 
The general term ** object '* for the first, would be intelligible enough in 
onr language ; on the other hand, the word tvbject, which the Germans 
fMtrict to the observer, to the individual, is less appropriate in English 
without some explanation. In the German sense the subject is the human 
heing, the obfe<^ all that is without him. When the tone or tendencies 
of the individual mind very perceptibly modify the nature of the ma- 
terials with which it has to deal, this is called a subjective mode of con- 
ception or treatment. When, on the other hand, the character of the 
individual is comparatively passive, and that of the object chiefly appa- 
|]ait, this is called an objective mode. — Note to Kughr, vol. i. (or Book 
.ni.\p.41., TramUuion, 

26 PAINTINGS IN PARIS, 1802-1804. [lktteu I. 

very smile, indeed, which is so characteristic of Correggio, 
appears in everj countenance of Leonardo, while all are 
marked hj the same strong resemblance, till the effect, in 
some instances, is almost monotonous ; like a poet who, to 
each individual in the narrow circle of characters which he 
describes, imparts some striking similarity of mind or feel- 
ing. It may be worthy of remark, that the portrait of 
Leonardo himself (No. 170.), in the Salon of Designs, has the 
▼ery same features which we recognise in so many of his 
compositions : the same half-closed eyes and the character- 
istic smile upon the lips. 

It is a still more remarkable fact, that the same uniformity 
is observable in the paintings of his scholars, especiiilly the 
Luini, — and what master ever formed scholars more closely 
resembling, or more worthy of himself, than these ? Cor- 
reggio also considered the lovely expression of a pure 
rejoicing soul — which, like a strain of music, breathes from 
all Leonardo's portraits — a vital element of the art; an opinion 
which he may perhaps have imbibed unconsciously, but 
which eventually became no less the base and principle of 
his painting than if originating in an individual peculiarity. 
In no picture is this manner more strikingly evident than m 
the "Holy Family" of Leonardo. The infant St. John 
holds a lamb, and the Saviour is stretching forth his hand 
to take a pair of scales offered by St. Michael, who is re- 
presented kneeling before him, robed in white garments. 
The face of the blessed Virgin might, with little or no 
alteration, be taken for that of a youthful Christ, as that of 
the " Saviour in the Temple," * by the same master, seems 
equally fitted for a Madonna. The painter appears to have 
formed his ideal of the Divinity as combining in one form 
the closest possible union between serious womanhood and 
masculine adolescence. 

I say his ideal, for what can be more properly called ideality 
than the harmonious combination of opposite and distinct 
elements ? The mere perfection of contour and proportion 
in a half-length, which even in sculpture afford a negative 
clue to individual beauty, and which it is scarcely possible to 
generalise in painting, is not what I would be understood to 
mean by this expression. Leonardo appears to me to have 

• u 

Christ arguing with the Pharisees," In the National Gallery. 



formed a much grander and far more noble conception of the 
mother of God, in a little half-length, smaller than life-size 
(No. 922.), which, from its perfect execution, maj well de- 
senre to hold the first place in our summary. In it we see 
blended the colouring of Correggio and his softness in the 
treatment of lights and shadows, with the individual deci* 
si<m and accuracy which characterise the serious Florentine. 
It contains onlj two figures, the mother and child; and 
though under the size of life, no colossal painting could pos* 
nhly be more grand in design or more powerful in execu- 
tion. The head and loftj brow of the Madonna are stamped 
with. God-like majesty ; yet, as she bends forward in earnest 
beauty, gazing fondly on her child, we might compare her 
to some lofty rock, dispensing its friendly shade in calm con- 
BciouBness of power ; the abundance of her waving tresses 
flo^ng down stream-like on all sides, and covering her 
shoulders, harmonises completely with this idea. The bosom 
is partially visible above the drapery. The mother s atti- 
tude, and the position of the child on her knees, is most 
artistic and picturesque. The painter has, indeed, produced 
a rare combination of power and loveliness. The back- 
ground represents the calm surface of the sea, motionless 
and uniform, with a hiU or town in the distance, rising 
gently above the waves. The infant Christ has in his 
hand a tiny cross, on which he seems to gaze with affec- 
tion ; yet is he completely a child, and I even fancy I have 
noticed in children the same calm, meditative expression. 
The stem of the cross alone breaks the calm monotony of the 
background, the most remarkable feature in which, is its 
complete repose and tranquillity. The idea of the holy child 
appears to me strikingly correct and true. I have never 
seen any composition in which it is so completely and beau- 
tifully embodied. In Raphael's fine picture at Dresden the 
infant Christ is certainly beautiful, nay divine ; yet might 
his divinity as well belong to some pagan god, an infant 
Jupiter for instance, as the blessed Jesus. In the '' Madonna 
deUa Sedia," also, we have a hero-boy, though as such won- 
derfully beautiful, it is true, in quiet consciousness of power, 
yet nestling with childlike fondness near his mother, and 
phmng with his feet 

This little picture of Leonardo's may convince the painter 
that quiet mijesty of thought and expression, impart colossal 

28 PAINTINGS IN PABis, 1802-1804. [letter u 

grandeur of outline even to paintings of the smallest dimen- 

I know not whether I have succeeded in imparting to you 
a just idea of the beauties of this composition ; jet were I to 
attempt a more enlarged description, I should, I fear, be led 
to clothe mj ideas in the garb and language of poetry ; yet I 
know not whether this would not in many instances be the 
best and most natural method of describing any peculiarly 
beautiful painting or other work of art For surely wliatever 
seizes the imagination and leaves a powerful impression on 
the mind, may claim kindred with that wonderful organisa- 
tion which we term poetical ; and whether our thoughts be 
awakened, and our hearts touched, by the simple represent- 
ation of outward forms, the melody of verse, or the more 
thrilling charm of music, is not the moving principle the 
same ? It is true the outward form alone is comparatively 
immaterial, the mind readily accommodating itself to ima- 
ginary circumstances, and the necessary details connected with 
them, which are presented to the eye ; and when familiarised 
with the general outline, we seek chiefly to realise the full 
force of the idea they are intended to convey, a perfect con- 
ception of the painter's meaning, unencumbered by any ma- 
terial medium, breaks upon the mind, and the whole picture, 
as if vivified by our intense contemplation, starts into life 
under a new and varied aspect 

A « Holy Family'* by Luini (No. 860.), and an « Herodiaa'' 
by Solari (No. 896.), both the works of pupils of Leonardo, 
are veiy excellent ; being not only designed and treated in 
his manner, but finished with all h£s peculiar distinctness and 
precision. The " Herodias " far surpasses that at Dresden, 
which must be attributed to one of Leonardo's least merito- 
rious scholars ; but the " Holy Family" far excels it in beauty, 
and some touches in it would not shame even the master's 

It is thus that the high-souled master, instead of exhaust* 
ing the power of his genius in isolated works, however dili- 
gently studied and appropriately handled, perpetuates his 
memory by the formation of a school, which shall bequeath to 
posterity the nature and principles of his peculiar style* 
And while this impenetrable exterior may often conceal a 
nature sensitive even to wilfulness, a heart alive to the most 
delicate feelings, so when once it breaks through its outward 


apparent coldness and formality, it affects us the more seri- 
oualjr and strongly. From this cause arises, as I apprehend, 
the beautiful sensibility, the strong inclination to the mourn- 
ful and pathetic, which characterises the works of the old 
masters. I even imagine that I recognise this now perhaps 
forgotten feeling, in Leonardo's preference for one pecuL'ar 
character of landscape in his backgrounds. He usually 
selects a sea-piece, with rocks or cliffs ; the former some- 
times calm, and the shore rounded and uniform, and at 
others tempestuous and stormy, and the shore rugged and 
precipitous, but earth and sky always seeming to blend in 
the distant horizon. A landscape of this description will 
generally inspire a feeling of soothing melancholy, or at least 
incline the mind to tranquil silent meditation. In the picture 
we are now considering, the distant ocean is seen through an 
opening in the cliffs near the kneeling figure of St. Michael. 
There is a similar background in another picture in the 
(Srand Salon (No. 37.), which represents the Virgin seated on 
the lap of St. Anna ; with this last, however, I was but little 
pleased : the same remark applies to two portraits by this 
master here exhibited. I should observe, that there are here 
too few paintings, actually from his hand, to permit any ana- 
lysia of his different manners, or to elucidate the history and 
progress of his style* 

Tlie Mus^ Parisienne is so rich in excellent, or to say the 
least, in very meritorious portraits, that I am naturally led 
to make some general observations on that particular branch 
of the art, notwithstanding that the small size of the pictures 
and the contracted nature of the subject leaves less scope for 
genius and originality in this than any other style. My 
observations on the numerous excellent portraits by Leonardo, 
Baphael, Titian, and Holbein, will be comprehended under 
one general head, and illustrated by examples from their 
several compositions of the various manners of treatment 
which they have respectively practised. That of Titian 
appears to me the most simply true to nature, though he rises 
rather above the bare representation, which is all that is ab- 
solutely required of this style. He aims at exact fidelity to 
nature, combined with picturesque attitudes and situations ; 
and this appears to be the main object with portrait-painters 
of the present day. The difference between them lies in 
this : — that Titian painted excellently, and attained the point 

30 PAINTINGS IN PABis, 1802-1804. [lettebi. 

he aimed at, while they strive to reach it in yaio. The most 
beautiful of Titian's portraits here exhibited, is that of a 
lovely woman, with luxuriant tresses flowing unconfined over 
her shoulders ; she holds part of her hair in one hand, and is 
in the act of anointing it. The arm, the golden hair, and in- 
comparably delicate fairness of the neck and shoulders, make 
it a specimen of the most exquisite colouring. 

Holbein's portraits are treated on an entirely different 
principle; not content with the delineation of loveliness 
alone, nor striving to produce, in combination with it, a 
grand and effective composition, he aims simply at repro* 
ducing nature with the greatest characteristic truth and 
objective peculiarity. His attitudes are, in consequence, fre- 
quently stiff and formal ; the background, merely a dork green 
uniform surface, and the costume and other accessories most 
minutely and laboriously finished. It must be allowed, that 
if a portrait be intended to mark the period of time at which 
it was taken, this manner of treatment is most appropriate. 
Besides, how can a painter, restricted to the imitation of 
any one individual figure, prove the correctness of his art, 
except by the most striking, objective truth. This does not, 
of course, lead to an idealisation of the features, but, on 
the contrary, to a contraction ; the circle of individual ideas 
is narrowed and confined, and the picture seems, as is the 
case with Holbein, completely bounded and shut in by indi- 
vidual characteristics. Still, what do we most value in a 
portrait ? Not a lofty and romantic impersonation, but ra- 
ther such a correctness in delineating the natural features 
as marks its identity and secures immediate recognition. 
Passing emotions, then, speaking changes of countenance, 
attitude, and expression, to which a moment may give birth, 
and which, emanating from a noble soul, kindle, for that 
moment at least, the most exquisite beauty of expression, — 
these being from their very nature evanescent in the highest 
degree, necessarily produce indistinctness, and will be stu- 
diously avoided by every painter who strives to give a close 
imitation of nature. 

In Holbein's portraits, costume, expression, and even the 
position of the hands are made subservient to this primary 
object, and the resemblance is thus so much heightened, that 
it becomes startling, and sometimes almost harsh in its pal- 
pable identity. Many of Leonardo's portraits are treated 


on similar principles, aiming onlj at correctness in the out- 
line of the features and minuteness in details : he appears to 
excel in discerning and embodying characteristic peculiar- 
ities, as, for example, in the portrait of the Duke of Milan* 
at Dresden, as also in that of a woman (No. 924.) in this 
Museum. The style of Raphael, many of whose portraits are 
here exhibited, generally resembles that of Titian: his repre- 
sentations are equally viv id and life-like, but with more strength 
of colouring and more grandeur in the delineation of character. 

Raphael and Leonardo have also left portraits in a com- 
^tely different manner, bearing no trace either of Titian or 
Holbein, and which may appropriately be termed "symbolic." 

In these portraits we have what appears to be a striking 
likeness, with a landscape background of sea, hills, and sky, 
as in the picture of Monna Lisa, by Leonardo (No. 923.). 
This addition is decidedly an infringement of the narrow 
circle within which Holbein and Titian confined themselves, 
for it is immediately seen that the landscape is designed to 
heighten and amplify the expression depicted on the counte- 
nance. Symbols introduced into any branch of art become 
a medium for facilitating the comprehension of what is not 
in itself sufficiently clear. It is undoubtedly the highest 
effort of genius to enable us to read in the human counte- 
nance the deepest working of the hidden soul within, and 
of which the outward indications are generally so few and 
slight This expression being but dimly seen, and difficult 
to seize and depict, the artist finds cori'ectness of form and 
features inadequate, alone, to convey this highest attribute 
of the human countenance, and summons to his aid the use 
of symbols, which, combining with the outward elements, 
invest them with a new and clearer signification. The old 
masters affiird many examples of such a combination of a 
landscape background, and a characteristic face. I know 
none more remarkable, in this style, than two portraits by 
Raphael (Nos. 937. 938.), in the catalogue of the Long Gal- 
lery. They are likenesses of two young men ; one, leaning 
on his arm, with an expression of careless confidence, looks 
forth into the world with joyous, animated eyes, as if secure 
of making his way clearly through all difficulties, and sur- 
mounting every obstacle; the other, silent and contempla- 

• Fnmfois Sfone^ Due de Milan.— Cat to Dresden Gal 178S. No. 

32 PAINTINGS IN FAmSy 180^1804. [letter I. 

tlve, not as if touched hj care or anxiety, but serenely 
thoughtful, and bj some magic of the painter's soul, wrought 
into a delicious expression of repose, blends in a countenance 
of lofltj beauty, the utmost candour and simplicity. The 
background is an extensive landscape ; the earth clear, dis* 
tinct, and radiant ; but the sky above troubled and tem- 
pestuous. The uniformity of the landscape is unbroken, 
except by a few little trees, which rise in the foreground ; 
nothing, on the whole, can be more touching, or better cal* 
culated to induce meditation and tranquil thought. 

Now I affirm that such a portrait, so decidedly symbolic, 
18 quite distinct from the ordinary genre of portrait-paint- 
ing. Its lofty expression and meaning seem almost to be- 
long to the style of historical composition, and though not 
perhaps in entire conformity with any historical subject, it 
might easily be supposed to be a study, or fragment of some 
larger composition. In a word, this symbolic expression and 
treatment robs portrait painting of its only distinctive cha- 
racter as a separate branch of the art, namely, the embody- 
ing of individual features, in scrupulously correct identity. 
But why insist on making it a distinct branch of art ? Were 
it not far better, if the majority of dilettanti, caring less to 
exhibit themselves in their personal character to posterity, 
trusted more to the discretion of the artist. The painter 
might then, instead of confining himself to the portraiture 
of the human countenance in its every-day character and 
expression, which must in the lapse of a few years lose all 
interest for the public eye, give it a permanent value as a 
work of art, indulging at freedom in his own manner and 
treatment, the result of previous study, meditation, and re- 
search. An interest thus firmly based would generally be a 
lasting evidence to posterity, that this particular portrait, at 
least in one sense, belonged to the sphere of the painter's 
productions, and was imbued with his peculiar manner ; in 
fiict, it is by carrying out these very principles that fine 
historical paintings are produced, any of which would seem 
but of little value if deficient in the individuality of expres- 
sion which characterises portrait-painting. 

Garofalo's poi*trait of himself (No. 786.), is completely in 
this style. I may here observe, that a portrait can scarcely 
be treated with so much objective truth in form and detail, 
and yet with a kind of partial interest in the correct render* 


ing of the expression, as when the artist is himself also the 
subject. This picture is by far the finest of anj here exhi- 
bited, and may be cited as the perfection of portrait-paint- 
iBg. Several H0I7 Families, bj the same master, are to be 
seen here also, but bearing no resemblance to each other. 
One, in which St. Eatherine kneels at the feet of Christ, 
deserves peculiar notice. The countenance of the Madonna, 
irho is seated looking directly out of the picture, offers a 
most perfect ideal of serious divinity ; and though so much 
smaller in dimensions, bears some resemblance to the Mother 
of Grod in the great picture by Raphael at Dresden ; but 
the Madonna of Garofalo is, if I may hazard the assertion, 
even more severe and holy. I always leave the study of 
Baphael's portraits, impressed by the versatility of his truly 
universal genius, each being marked by some distinguishing 
Tariety of treatment and colouring. It is this predominant 
quality which appears to me to be the source and the eluci- 
dation of all his other peculiarities. 

Certainly the recollection that a most extraordinary art- 
istic versatility reigned in all the compositions of this master, 
affords a clue to much that it is otherwise difficult to account 
for. It was this which led him to imitate, and make his 
own, every peculiarity in the style of other masters, which, 
united and combined by his comprehensive genius, he has 
presented to us under new and striking forms. 

Many artists of great discrimination have remarked the sur- 
prising resemblance between Raphael's manner in the tapestry 
designs, and that of Michelangelo : in many of his single 
figures he appears to lean to Masaccio» while the style of other 
paintings makes the amateur almost doubtful whether to 
assign them to him or to Giulio Romano. The similarity of 
manner between himself and some among his pupils would 
be most unaccountable, did we not know that in many in- 
stances he transfused their manner into his own, or, to use 
a more appropriate expression, lowered his own style to 
assimilate with theirs. 

There are, however, even in this Museum, many remarkable 
instances of similarity between Raphael and other painters 
differing widely from him in their general manner and range 
of ideas. The great versatility of his genius unites in one 
composition the most distant epochs and dissimilar styles. 

34 PAINTINGS IN PARIS, 1802-1804. [letter I. 

These remarks applj very justly to the Madonna di FolignOi 
(No. 56.^ Catalogue of the Grand Salon,) in the restoration 
of which every secret of chemical art has been employed. It 
is a votive picture. The Madonna and Child, surrounded 
by a halo of lights occupy the upper part, and the rays 
emanating from this glory illumine a city lying below. On 
the right of the spectator we see the offerer of the picture 
(donatorius), an aged man, kneeling, and joining his up- 
raised hands in an attitude of devotion. The holy St. Jerome, 
a fine old man with a white beard, places his hands on the 
suppliant's head, thus apparently accepting, and at the same 
time drawing attention to the devotion of the aged worshipper. 
Opposite to these figures, and on the left of the spectator, 
stands John the Baptist and the blessed St. Francis, both so 
precisely resembling the same personages in the oldest paint- 
ing by Correggio, at Dresden, that any one who has seen 
both, must be fully persuaded that one of the two masters 
must, though perhaps unconsciously, have copied the other. 
Baphael's composition, though not in his latest manner, is 
yet certainly not one of his earliest works ; that of Correggio, 
on the contrary, belongs evidently to a very early period. 
The figures, too, resemble many others by Correggio, in his 
various compositions. We can scarcely rej ect the idea of some 
intercourse, however slight, between the prince of Roman 
masters and the then little known Lombard artist : it is at 
least possible that Raphael may have seen the one painting to 
which we allude ; and if so, he would doubtless appreciate it, 
since we are aware of the high estimation in which he held 
the designs of t)iirer, which he at one time entertained the 
idea of working up into perfect compositions. Should the 
resemblance of which we have been speaking be merely 
accidental, it is a singular circumstance, and serves at least 
to prove the universality of Raphael's genius, which, with 
lordly power, concentrated the widest ramifications and most 
distant periods of art. His ordinary style in church pic- 
tures, is a combination of Perugino and Fra Bartolommeo> 
two masters of widely different style. His designs for 
tapestry, and some among his later compositions^ as for ex- 
ample the Transfiguration, are in the manner of Michel- 
angelo ; and his portraits resemble those of Titian, whose 
manner he decidedly imitated, while infusing his own loftier 

X.£TT£B I.] RAPHAEL. 35 

Bonl into the nature and truth of that master. How numer- 
ous the points of resemblance, a careful and systematic studj 
of many paintings of the old masters would probably elicit I 
In the foreground of the very painting under consideration 
(the Madonna di Foligno), the angel who presents a tablet 
inscribed with the name of the votive offerer, exactly re- 
sembles one of those in the incomparable picture at Dresden. 

In the celebrated Transfiguration, which from its gran- 
deur and beauty, the vigour of the design, and its perfect 
development in the execution, enchains both artists and 
amateurs in silent admiration, Faith and Incredulity are 
most powerfully contrasted. On the left of the spectator 
stand nine of the apostles, all gazing on the Saviour with 
varied expressions of affection and unwavering faith ; opposite 
to them the crowd, conducting thither the epileptic boy, all 
evidently full of doubts, and some even ready to give utterance 
to angry reproaches and murmurs against Providence, for per- 
mitting the innocent to be thus afflicted. In the centre fore- 
grotind of the picture a woman is kneeling ; her countenance, 
raised to heaven, is full of holy fervour, and she points to 
the Saviour as if in the act of declaring that there can be 
no hope for aid except from him alone, who is revealed upon 
that mountain. The allegory is finely imagined, and vividly 
represented. The landscape also is beautiful, and the treat- 
ment of the heads in the lower part of the picture incom- 
parably expressive; but the glorified Saviour, and those 
who surround him, are less powerfully conceived, and in 
every way inferior to the rest of the painting. Connois- 
seurs of fine taste and judgment have imagined they could 
trace in the npper part the hand of one of the famous 
pupils of Raphael, il Fattore for instance ; this is frequently 
the case in his later works. The treatment of the lower 
part is quite in the style of Giulio Romano. 

There is less richness and variety in the St. Dfichael 
slaying the Dragon (932.), but the mind finds in it far more 
food for meditation and refiection. The figure and coun- 
tenance of the archangel are full of divine beauty and ex- 
pression ; a stream of fire flows from a cavern in the dark 
rock, in which the dragon is lying. There is also another 
small picture on the same subject, probably the original 
sketch of the first, although it differs considerably in the 

D s 


36 PAINTINGS IN PABis, 1802-1804. [letter t. 

general treatment. The countenance of the angel is almost 
more beautifol than in the finished composition, and it ap- 
pears to me a happj idea to have made his ample shield 
of pure white, with a blood red cross in the centre. Be- 
sides the dragon, whose head is under the foot of the angel, 
various wondrous and misshapen animals stand around. 
We discover in the distance a burning town and a church-» 
yard, in which the devil is torturing and pursuing the spirits 
of the dead. Judging from this design, which is a most 
fantastic composition, we should pronounce the first sketches 
of Raphael to be the most singular and original. 

We must also notice a Madonna of small dimensions 
(No. 935.), in which the blessed Virgin is represented taking 
a robe from the sleeping infant, and silently gazing on him : 
hence this picture is known under the name of the ^ Silence." 
I was greatly delighted with it, and should say (if I may 
venture to hazard such a conjecture) that, like many others 
in a similar style, it marks the progress from his earliest and 
childlike pictures to the glowing beauty of his riper years ; 
of which, indeed, it gives rich indications, and seems to 
promise that abundance of tender grace and loveliness, 
which imparts to Raphael's original character such match- 
less purity and unbounded variety. The colouring is a little 
faded, yet it is easy to see that the red, white, and blue in 
the mantle of the Virgin are blended and contrasted in the 
same manner in which such tints are frequently employed 
by poets in their descriptive passages — a poetical assemblage 
and combination of colours to which this master is much 
addicted. In this painting we recognise also a predilection 
for pure masses of the most distinct tints, — ^red, green or 
white, which blend harmoniously by the intervention of a 
soft, grey shadow, like sweet strains of music, unbroken 
by any discordant note or unmelodious chord. This manner 
seems no less appropriate for producing effects of capricious 
or high-souled imagination, than that mixture of all colours, 
however great their apparent dissonance and incompatibi- 
lity, which is the characteristic of Correggio. 

I fancy I have frequently remarked and admired similar 
characteristic colouring in Holbein and Diirer. Holbein 
combines unmixed black, intense crimsons, and the richest 
yellow brown ; a treatment exactly suited to his vigour of 


design. The incomparable picture at Dresden, in which thi^ 
design is peculiarlj apparent, shows with how much earnest 
diligence he studied to attain the object we have noticed 
yet Diirer, in some of his paintings, seems even to have 
surpassed him, and bj highly oomplicated efforts of art oc- 
casionallj to combine, in a world of contrasting colours, the 
greatest vigour and expression, though from the nature of 
things the result of such an attempt must generally prove 

I shall notice, in conclusion, some of the finest paintings 
hy Grerman masters : thej are, for the most part, portraits ; 
the " Offering of Isaac" (316.), being nothing more than a 
sketch, and of very little value. 

John Van Eyck has some splendid paintings here. A 
** Marriage at Cana," is not only of fresh and vivid colour- 
ing, but full of beautifully designed figures. I can say 
nothing more truly commendatory of the latter, than that 
many of the female heads remind me of the Mother of Grod*, 
at Dresden, by Holbein, in whom humility is so finely com- 
bined with awful majesty. I consider this last more fully 
expressive of the idea of the Holy Mother, in her sweet 
benevolence and gentleness, than even the Madonna of 
Kaphael, — divine indeed in glance and form, yet with too 
much of the ordinary character of divinity, — equally ap- 
propriate to a Juno or a Diana ; and it is highly probable 
that one or both of these goddesses of antiquity may have 
presented themselves to the mind of the painter when he 
formed the design. 

Though the essentially German Holbein appears to have 
been an imitator and follower of Van Eyck, still the figures 
of that master, in his later compositions, are not completely 
in the style of Flemish painting. It would, perhaps, be most 
intelligible to consider Van Eyck as the author and founder 
of the great school of Grerman painting, the history and deve- 
lopment of which may thus be traced with great clearness and 
precision through the distinct and widest successive degrees 
of Van Eyck, Diirer, and Holbein. Yet in the history of our 
native art, at present so little known, many members may now 
be wanting, which subsequent research will probably supply. 

* Ia fitmiUe de Jacques Meyer, Bourguemaitre de Basle, ft genoux, 
devant la Ste. Vierge qui tieot Teufknt Jesus. ^ C^t. 17S3, Na 437. 

o 3 

38 FAnrriNGS in pabis, 1802-1804. [letter i. 

There is a; small painting here by Yan Ejck — ^the '^ Lamb 
of the Apocalypse." It is represented standing on the ark, and 
the blood streaming from its bosom is received into a shelL 
Near the ark are angels and seraphim worshipping the Lamb, 
and, more distant, choirs of holj maidens, martyrs, teachers, 
apostles, popes, and monks. The Holy Spirit, in the form 
of a dove, hovers above them, and a ray of light and inspira- 
tion emanating from the body illumines the kneeling groups 
below. A spring of living water gushes forth in the foreground, 
and a rich landscape, diversified with flowers, fruit, moun- 
tains, and buildings, fills the background. The figures 
forming each of the groups are most rich and varied, and, 
above all, perfect in architectural symmetry and technical 
correctness, presenting us with noble Italian-like forms. 

The mystery and majesty of the Godhead is finely ex- 
pressed throughout, but the opposition of the evil principle 
holds in this sJlegory but a secondary place. 

Three church pictures by this master — God the Father, 
the Blessed Virgin, and St. John the Baptist* — have a strik- 
ing affinity with each other, and are much finer compositions 
than the last-mentioned. These severely divine figures, de- 
signed with Eg3rptian force and formality, are wonderfully 
impressive, and appear as if sent from grey antiquity to 
demand our reverence and adoration, while their awful ma- 
jesty leads us to devout meditation on the power and grandeur 
of an earlier world. As in an organised body, essential 
members, which stand out prominently, and give to the form 
itself its decided proportions, are but few in number, yet 
require, besides a certain proportion of the less prominent 
accessories, oi^anic substance, and muscular power, to bind 
together the principal members and completely to clothe the 
body, — so it is with painting as an art. In tracing out its 
history at this period, we need nao&e but few painters, be- 
cause Yan Eycif:, Dtirer, and Holbein are the types of dif- 
ferent characteristics of German painting, which may be 
satisfactorily classed in three divisions, each tracing back its 
origin to one of those three masters. Still we must not over- 
look those lesser painters, who, in the early times of German 
as well as of Italian painting, claimed some regard, though 

* These and the above are all parts of the fiimoos altar-pieee of 
St. BaTODs, Ghent, by Hubert and John Van Eyck. 

l] hkklikg. 89 

^[leeclilj eclipsed by the great princes and soyerei^s of the 
art, whose names alone are epochs sufficiently indicating its 
progress. These inferior painters have many of them pro- 
duced works, few in nnmber it is true, and yet some of 
which are almost worthy of their chiefs, and though perhaps 
less effective and striking, distinguished by great and original 
beauties. These observations were called forth by a picture 
of the old Grerman master, Hemling (No. 306.) : the blessed 
8t. Christopher, the Infant Christ, and a few other holy per- 
sons, are here represented in a landscape, which deserves to 
rank among the finest productions of the German schooL 
Saint Christopher, bearing the Infant Christ on his shoulder, 
and leaning on a staff, steps across a little stream. Lofty 
rocks form the sides of the picture ; in the left foreground 
we see Saint Benedict, and on the right Saint Egidius, who 
has just fixed an arrow in his cross-bow ; the favourite deer 
stands near the saint. High up on the rock on the left side a 
hermit is seen issuing from his cell, carrying a lighted torch. 
Xn the side compartment, on the right of St. William, in full 
armour, the d(matorius (or votive offerer) and his son are in- 
troduced kneeling, and the wife and daughters opposite, in 
the same posture, presented by another saint.* The landscape 
in the side compartments is a continuation of that in the 
centre division. I have rarely seen one more still and green 
— quite in the German character — natural and tranquil. 

The benevolent and kindly expression in the countenance 
of St. Christopher, the luxuriant landscape, the symbolic deer, 
and the simplicity and single-heartedness of the whole, remind 
us of the best efforts of the old German masters, more espe* 
cially of Durer, though this picture has no alloy of caricature, 
and is throughout more calm and tranquil, though scarcely 
less expressive than the ordinary manner of that master. 

The countenances are more completely natural than we 
generally find them in the old Flemish masters. 

In a remote period find country, this most excellent painter, 
whose fame is far from equalling his merits, sprang to life, 
imbued with all the genius of the old Grerman masters. The 
picture we have described may furnish an example of the 
correct manner of treating subjects tak^i fr<»n the history of 
the saints in their solitary and picturesque retreats. The 

* Sointe Barbe. — Catalogue, 1802. 

j> 4 

40 PAiNTiKOB m PABis, 1802-1804. [letter t« 

deepest devotion and holiness are apparent tliroughonty 
blended with all the charms of tranquillitj and innocence. 

The first step to that expressive style of painting intro* 
daced by Van Eyck into the German school^ is by far the most 
comprehensive and easily understood. We cannot, therefore, 
wonder at its having been speedily adopted by succeeding 
artists, who, superadding an outward finish and softness, at 
length reached that degree of highly-finished correctness and 
accuracy which, in Holbein, seems to have attained the per- 
fection of that manner. But it is in the medium between 
these two extremes that we discover the greatest depth of 
symbolic meaning, the most explicit and profoundly studied 
designs. The pictures of Albert Diirer afibrd the happiest 
examples of this style — his Crucifixion especially. Here the 
apostle St. John, standing at the foot of the cross, gazes 
mournfully upon the Saviour ; opposite to him is the Blessed 
Virgin, supported in the arms of her attendants, her head 
bowed down with the weight of more than maternal anguish. 
The expression of her grief is perfectly free from exaggera- 
tion, and therefore the more irresistibly afiecting. Her noble 
countenance seems suffused with tears ; the lips parted, as if 
ready to give utterance to the heart-wrung cry of pain and 

St Dionysius and Charlemagne are on the right of the 
spectator, on the same side of the picture as the apostle St. 
John. The first, in accordance with his legendary history, 
holds in his hand his own pale and severed head, the blood 
gushing from his neck. Charlemagne grasps a naked sword, 
and looks out of the picture, his eye full of wild determina- 
tion and severity. Several soldiers of reduced proportions 
form characteristic groups in the background ; some of the 
figures are rude and savage in expression, others mischievous, 
and others again boorish and vicious ; yet all seem to gaze 
with fierce, demoniac joy on the Redeemer and his martyred 
servant. Two, who stand apart on a mountain, pointing with 
exultation at the crucified, appear meet companions for the 
Evil One. No verdure clothes this side of the picture ; but 
a large Gothic church, with open doors, seemingly emble- 
matic of the spiritual edifice which such princes as Charles, 
and such martyrs as St. Dionysius, established with blood 
and sword, may also indicate the path of return, even from 
the vilest degradation and sinfulness, to the holiness of a re-^ 

I.] ALBSBT DilSEtt. 41 

newed heart ; probably, also, the limits within which even 
disgust and rage (which we here see giving utterance to the 
moet fiendlike scoffing against God and God*s most holj 
things), may find lurking places. Every thing most repug- 
nant to Christianity seems to be here assembled ; but the 
opposite side of the picture (the spectator's left), has far 
ipore calm and tranquillity. We see, near the cross, the 
weeping mother ; the holy Baptist, and his lamb, one hand 
extended, pointing to the crucified Redeemer, and with an 
expression of true grief and sorrow ; also St. Louis, looking 
towards the group, yet more serious than sorrowful, gazing 
almost with envy on the grave of the Saviour. A road in the 
distance leads down to the water^ and a few men stand calmly 
and as if in conversation. The landscape is dotted with 
rustic cottages, and a traveller leans over the wall at the side 
of the road, gazing pensively down upon the water and the 
opposite shore. Small vessels, sailing hither and thither, 
are mirrored on the glassy surface of the water. The fore* 
ground on this side is clothed and adorned with plants of 
varied hues and carefully painted. Various objects are scat- 
tered at the foot of the cross, — a skull, bones, drops of 
blood, a stone;, the end of a rope, — all thrown together as if 
by accident. As you approach the side where Charles and 
St Dionysius are standing, a few solitary plants only are in- 
troduced ; but the foreground, further on that side, is per* 
fectly bare. A dark cloud, black as night, envelopes the 
cross, and hangs low towards the earth, but all beneath it is 
dear and bright The Redeemer himself is gloriously im. 
agined, though weakness and pain are fully apparent in the 
prominent muscles and the livid form. His white mantle 
flutters far in the distance, as if left to be the sport of the 
rude winds. 

Enough, however, for the present A few only of the old 
masters now remain to be noticed ; but their compositions 
i^pear to me to have been imperfectly understood ; and the 
examination of their designs will give me an opportunity of 
fully developing my ideas on the subject of painting. They 
must, however, be reserved for a future occasion, and until I 
can study the actual works of these great masters ; since, 
without consulting the existing examples, I could not attempt 
any comment on the general style of their compositions. 

42 PAnrriNGS m fares, 1802-1804. [lettsb il 


Characteristics of Raphael. The Difference between the old Schools of 
Italian PainUng and the modern Style. — On the Selection of Christian 
Subjects for Painting, and the Manner in which the old Masters 
treated mythological Subjects. — Description of a few ronarkable 
Paintings of the Spanish School, with ObsetTstions on the general 
Principles on vhich the Distinction between different Branches of the 
Art of Painting is founded. 


Beginning of the year 1803, 

The famous Transfiguration, the last and most wonderful 
work of Raphael, has been most successfully restored, and is 
now exhibited in the Long Gallery of the Louvre.* 

It iS) unfortunately, not in a faTOurable situation, the 
gallery being too small to admit of its being viewed from 
the distance necessary to give it full effect. The light too 
is bad; instead of entering from above, as in the Grand 
Salon, it is admitted, the whole length of the gallery, by 
side windows, and the effect is too dazzling, while it is 
scarcely possible to obtain a full broad ray of light. 

Attention has been paid to lessening as much as possi- 
ble this evil, — unavoidable in the existing building, — and 
the present position of the Transfiguration is the least un- 
favourable that could be chosen under the circumstances. 
Nay, it would, if possible, be compensated for by another 
very pruseworthy arrangement. The great picture is sur- 
rounded by a number of smaller pictures by the same 
master ; on one side, a very valuable Holy Family, of his 
ripest time, and opposite to it an ** Annunciation," the work 
of his earliest youth, and painted at the time when he imi- 
tated Perugino. Two church pictures, by the latter master, 
in his best manner, hang above the " Transfiguration," and 
below them, portraits. Sketches and small paintings, by 
Baphael, among which we find those I have before des- 
cribed, and a few others in addition. The "Madonna di 
FoUgno" is hung near; and opposite, "La Belle Jardini^e," 
or, ^e Madonna of the Garden. 

A method of hanging so judicious, induces meditation, 

* Since restored to the Vatican. 


and at the same time facilitates the study of fin j great 
master, showing at a glance the progressive deyelopment 
of his genius, from its earliest jouthful efforts to the full 
splendour of its meridian glorj. 

Both the church pictures of Perugino are hung too high 
to be oonvenientlj studied, and their treatment appears so 
difierent to his general manner, and to one picture in par- 
ticular which I had on mj former visit seen among the 
works placed aside to be repaired and restored, that it is 
difficult to account for a contrast so surprising. Both un- 
doubtedly belong to a much earlier and inferior epoch of this 
master^s genius. 

The earliest pictures of Raphael surprisingly resemble 
those of his master Perugino ; so much so, that it is some- 
times difficult to know to which to assign the earlier works 
of 'the former. A scholar capable of following so closely in 
the steps of the master, must have been endowed by nature 
with a strong imitative talent, and great facility in adopting 
the ideas and designs of others. This facility peculiarly 
characterises the genius of Baphael, and is almost insepara- 
lile from that predilection for glowing colours, which in 
some of Baphael's pictures, those of a later period especially, 
is almost too apparent. 

A small painting, representing in different compart- 
ments the '^ Annunciation," the ^* Adoration of the Kings," 
and the ** Circumcision," although apparently in his earliest 
manner^ is less like Perugino, and most of the figures are 
badly drawn. I imagine that even this early picture con- 
tains indications of his subsequent attachment to ideal cir- 
cumstances and construction. His colouriog is in broad 
masses of the most decided crimson, white, and green ; and 
these prevailing hues resemble that one chord in a melody, 
from whence the ear decides in what key a strain is com- 

I now noticed, for the first time, a little sketch, in 
neutral tint, representing *< Faith, Love, and Hope:" each 
virtue is personified by a female figure, with two children 
beside her ; those belonging to Hope are lovely and deli- 
cately formed. Love is finely depicted as a nursing mo- 
ther, her children contentedly drawing nourishment from 
the breast ; her countenance wears an expression of benign 

44 t^AiNTiNGS m ^ABis, 1802-1804. [letteb It. 

tranquillity, and it Beems an original and beautiful thought 
to have personified Love thus with her own life and strength, 
supplying the wants of the necessitous, and soothing the 
fretful complainings of weakness and dependence. 

The '* Transfiguration " has been so long the object of 
tiniversal wonder and admiration, that to extol its beauty- 
would be indeed superfluous. It is not the perfect finish 
alone which raises it so high in the estimation of all aitists ; 
other qualities undoubtedly contribute to enhance its fame. 
This great picture, in the treatment of the colours, the 
grouping, as well as in the expression, and still more the 
method and principles on which it is designed, completely 
accords with the style of the later schools. The Carracci, 
indeed, adopted the same treatment, or at least aimed at 
the same point, though unable actually to soar so high. The 
difference between Raphael and his successors is more ob- 
vious in design than in actual treatment ; or at least, their 
colouring approaches more nearly to that of Raphael, than it 
does to the narrow, severe, and more vigorous manner of older 
masters. Raphael himself frequently imitated the old style ; 
and here again we admire the wonderful versatility and 
variety of his genius. Paintings belonging to the earlier 
epochs of the Italian schools may have little interest for the 
mere lover of art, but their value to an experienced painter 
is infinitely greater. In the time of the Carracci and their 
successors, Ponssin, &c., the prevailing style of painting 
continued to be imbued, however slightly, with the feelings 
and manner of the earlier masters ; but from that time for- 
ward their ideas seem to have been no longer understood or 
reverenced, and ere long were entirely laid aside and for- 
gotten. None of Raphael's works, though there may per- 
haps be many of equal merit in existence, have excited so 
much enthusiasm as the " Transfiguration," and the reason 
may possibly be this, — it seems to form the last link between 
the genuine style of the old masters, and the more artificial 
taste of modem schools. 

' The expression in this picture is much heightened by 
the powerful contrast between the pious, benevolent ardour 
of the apostles,' and the murmuring, complaining unbelief 
of those who lead the epileptic boy ; a contrast most power- 
fully and effectively managed. The landscape is beautiful. 


and the figure of the woman, who, kneeling in the fore-* 
g^nnd, appears to reproach the disciples with their inca* 
pacity or unwillingness to aid the sufferer, is divinely grand. 
The heads of the apostles are finely varied, and that of St. 
John, beautiful ; the discontent and angry feelings of the 
Borrounding spectators, and the suffering of the boy himself, 
are delineated with much truth and force. Yet the finishing 
is notwithstanding deficient in dignity and high expression. 
The reproachful looks of the murmurers are rude and wild, 
and the disciples gaze wonderingly on each other, surprised 
and grieved at their inability to render assistance ; oppressed 
by their want of power, and with little grandeur of mien or 
cUgnity of deportment. A master of earlier times would 
not thus have handled his subject : he would probably have 
given us a far deeper insight into the complicated sources of 
bitter sorrow and anguish ; but to compensate for this^ the 
influence of the Consoler would have been unalloyed, and 
his power far more intensely felt. We should not, perhaps, 
have had our admiration excited by the rich grouping of 
the apostles, but the severe grandeur of each figure would 
have filled us with reverence ; the imperative earnestness of 
the unbelievers, their loud and reproachful murmurs, would 
have appeared as if awed into silence, or softened into hope; 
and the conviction of the necessity of suffering, and the 
insufficiency of all earthly aid, would have given a more 
dignified and imposing character to the whole. This modem 
manner, richer indeed in art, but less imaginative and beau- 
tiful, may be traced also in the group upon the mountain. 
The figure of the Saviour, hovering in the upper air, ap- 
pears like a moving flame ; the three apostles, blinded by 
the radiance, lie on the ground, in attitudes almost too 
effective to be wholly natural ; and the donatorius, kneel- 
ing in the comer, has also a wonder-stricken expression of 
countenance. The subject altogether is treated with a super- 
ficial, lightly-kindled enthusiasm, not with that simple, 
earnest power, that profound meditation and deep devotion 
with which the reverential love of the earlier masters would 
have approached a subject so truly divine and holy. 

The inventive genius of Raphael is most gloriously 
displayed in such comprehensive works as the above ; but 
the loveliness and grace which invest his composition with 

46 PAiNTmGS IN PAias, 1802-1804. [letter n. 

peculiar fascination are more conspicnoas in his simple 
paintings. The famous Madonna, known as *'La Giardi- 
nieray'' takes a verj high rank among pictures of the latter 
class. The Madonna is represented sitting with the two 
children in a landscape of surpassing beautj ; the sky of 
pure and cloudless azure, and the whole scene representing 
an earthlj paradise of innocence and spirituality. This 
picture breathes only unsullied loveliness, and almost infan- 
tine happiness ; the individuality of nature appears through<- 
outy but with an absence of id^ty, and no severity of out- 
line. The charm and purity of the colouring, and the deli- 
cate bloom of the carnations are beyond all praise ; this 
picture may well bear comparison with the most elevated 
and spiritual among those of Titian, at least, in so far as we 
habitually associate with that master the idea of the most 
exquisite perfection of colouring. Titian's fine *^ Head of 
Christ,'' noticed in a preceding letter, ought to be placed 
near the " Giardiniera " of Raphael. 

This master has, nevertheless, in his representations 
of the Holy Virgin, indulged in the greatest diversity of 
manner and expression. It would be easy to enumerate a 
whole series of pictures on that subject, varying from the 
utmost loveliness of expression to the highest irradiation of 
majesty and awe. We may commence this series with the 
'' Giardiniera,** in which the blessed Virgin is represented, 
like the best beloved of some human heart, clad in mortal 
loveliness alone ; and it will naturally close with that splen- 
did composition at Dresden, in which the Mother of Grod is 
represented hovering in the clouds ; the clear outline of the 
features, the serious, yet love-breathing countenance, remind 
us of the loftiest idealisation of Juno, and the severe sim- 
plicity of Diana. 

Next to the "Giardiniera," we place the small pic- 
ture known as the " Silence*," in which the Virgin is seen 
watching over her sleeping child: the features in this paint- 
ing also are stamped with individuality, but the crown on 
the head, and the symbolic colour of the drapeiy at once 
indicate the Queen of Heaven : it forms a charming picture. 
Such lovely pictures as the " Silentium," and the " Giar- 
diniera," seem to justify the opinion once expressed by 

* La Vierge au Diademe. 


Michttlapgelo, that Raphael was a fine miniature-painter. 
This observation, however, requires explanation, as it may 
otherwise appear prompted bj an artistic jealousy, unworthy 
of so lofty a genius as Michelangelo. He doubtless meant 
to imply that, notwithstanding the circumscribed dimensions 
of these lesser pictures, Raphael appears in them to have 
given fuU scope to his ardent aspirations afler beauty, 
lavishing on them the richest gifts of fascinating grace and 
^iritual loveliness; but when he undertakes a gigantio 
composition, misled by the example of others, and the mis- 
chievous tendency of the time, he is far from being equally 
happy. This observation of Michelangelo's should, there- 
fore, if authentic, be referred only to the taste prevailing 
among artists of that time, for large and lofty proportions ; 
and indeed Raphael's expression might be found almost too 
fine and elaborate for pictures of colossal magnitude. Michel- 
angelo's predilection for gigantic forms led him to judge of 
designs chiefly as appropriate to paintings of such proportions. 

In another '' Holy Family," hanging to the right of 
the '* Transfiguration," several angels are introduced, strew- 
ing flowers over the Holy Mother ; all wear a lively expres- 
sion of rapture and devout joy, and the expression of 
the Virgin's countenance is in perfect keeping. It cer- 
tainly marks the first step of Raphael's progress from his 
earliest compositions, or rather copies of material grace and 
beauty to his later ideality of design. This picture has 
been the subject of much discussion ; it has all the finished 
grace of Correggio^ with a slight tincture of his laboured 
delicacy. The colouring, if not considerably faded, must from 
the first have been very feeble. The famous " Madonna della 
Sedia"* claims also an appropriate place in this series. 
The *' Madonna di Foligno " ranks next to the Madonna [di 
San Sisto] at Dresden. In this picture the Holy Virgin is 
surrounded by the nimbus, and appears indeed a creature of 
heavenly birth ; but her countenance is deficient in expres- 
sion, and the child's even more so. The individuality 
of Raphael's earliest paintings has vanished, but as yet he 
attains not to the glorious ideality of his famous ** Madonna." 

The modern estimation of this first of painters and 
the opinions transmitted to us from earlier days, which are 

* Fitti Palace* 

48 PATNTmas m pabis, 1802-1804. [LEXTEBtt 

too generallj received and repeated without personal invei^ 
tigation or examination, require in many points to be care» 
fully corrected and defined anew. Mengs considers tbe 
peculiar excellence of Raphael's style to consist in design, 
and expression ; his shadows and colouring having been not 
a little censured. Not to mention that so many of his paint- 
ings may be cited as incomparably beautiful in colouring, 
(the so often mentioned ^' Giardiniera " for instance,) this 
distinction is altogether contradictory; for are not these 
qualities reciprocal throughout ? Could Correggio, in com- 
bination with his method of light and shade, have employed 
any other carnations ? and is not the colouring of Raphael 
as positively appropriate to his designs and forms ? Do not 
lights, character, colouring and design enter, in the compo- 
sitions of a good master, into the unbroken harmony of the 
whole ? Instead of idly attempting, by an unsatisfactory 
classification, to divide things which are essentially insepar- 
able, and must be judged of in their eternal connection, let 
us rather strive to penetrate the original design of each 
master, and to unravel the expression which he himself 
designed to convey, recollecting that the paintings under 
consideration were the ofispring of a distant epoch, when 
the prevailing habits of thought, no less than the manner of 
expressing them, differed widely from our own. Should we 
succeed in fully comprehending any one design, we shall 
obtain a clue for estimating the value of the entire compo- 
sitions, and, judging in how far they carry out the painter's 
own views and intentions ; and if compelled, before obtain- 
ing that discriminating power, to study and examine numer- 
ous other designs by various masters, an additional advantage 
will thus be gained, enabling us to decide on the relative 
value of that particidar composition as compared with others, 
and a number of genuine ideas and principles will thus be 
engrafted on the mind. Principles, in the highest sense of 
the word; not merely negative conclusions, teaching no 
more than men must understand intuitively, — isolated ideas, 
calculated only to break asunder and destroy that harmonious 
unity, which can be penetrated and understood only in the 
combination of every part,— but principles, properly so 
called, the basis and source of a new life, and the first step, 
distant though it be, towards an imperishable goaL 


Many have pointed out ideal beauty, as the distin- 
guisiiing characteristic of Raphael. Li refutation of this 
assertion, it must be remembered that there are compara- 
tively few among his works in which this tendency is dis- 
coverable ; perhaps here and there almost too much so, to 
the neglect of the eternal barrier between painting and the 
antique forms modelled in sculpture. In other compositions 
he attempts only the delineation of some expressive allegory, 
giving to his figures a voluptuous charm, totally devoid of 
anything like ideality. This opinion of Raphael's merits is 
consequently ill-founded, and in a great measure incorrect. 

The extraordinary variety and artistic universality recog- 
nised in his congenial treatment of character, and which 
appears to be the most essential property of Raphael's 
genius, is also apparent in his attachment to the earlier 
schools of painting ; for although so many of his composi- 
tions belong completely to the epoch in which he lived, we 
trace, even in them, the genius of the old masters : their 
spirit and style present themselves occasionally almost pure^ 
and thus, in a certain sense, mark out the transition from 
tiie old style to that of the modem schools. It is, therefore, 
in the highest degree worthy of notice, that the painters of 
that time, from whom he had almost seceded, chose Idm 
pre-eminently as their leader, because all his works and 
peculiar ideas, if rightiy understood, must unavoidably lead 
them back to the right source ; namely, to that old school 
which we have no hesitation in pronouncing infinitely pre- 
ferable to the new. 

The study of the new and rich collection of Raphael's 
wori^s now exhibited in the Louvre, gives rise, in this place, 
to two general observations. 

The first' touches upon the old and new schools of Italian 
painting ; the devout, pious deeply significant style of the 
former, and the fiorid pomp of the latter. This grand dis- 
tinction requires to be particularly noticed in the history of 
the art, and other less remarkable differences should, on the 
contrary, be disregarded. Such as the many contrasts which 
may be found between the Yenetian and the later Flo- 
rentine school : in comparison with the old style, however, 
all these form but one general body, equally opposed to the 
principles and the execution of earlier masters. 


so PAmrmM m i^aris, 1802-1804. [letteb n. 

The striking and richly effective character of Titian's 
paintingS) as well as his design of placing before us in the 
most vivid manner the whole abundance and individual 
variety of actual life, is no more in keeping with the severe 
simplicity of the old masters, than the joyous splendour and 
dithyrambic luxuriance of Giulio Romano, whose mind 
seemed as fully imbued with the pomp and majesty of Romish 
ecclesiastical antiquity, as that of every Venetian appears to 
have been with the gloomy drama of opposing principles, 
and the contrast between good and evil, holiness and guilt. 
Many painters, little known to posterity, doubtless con« 
tributed to the establishment of that new school, which, 
originating with Raphael, Titian, Correggio, Giulio Romano^ 
and Michelangelo, yet bore within it the seeds of prema- 
ture decay. They indeed reached the highest summit of the 
art, both in conception and in the employment of every 
artistic power; yet their followers and imitators in each 
separate school, exaggerating every dangerous license, soon 
diverged into the wide digressions of a false style, the fir^t 
symptoms of which decline may be recognised in the feeble- 
ness apparent in the latest works, even of those masters. 
If Correggio first gave the example of digressing into the 
province of music, the first introduction of that old and 
common error, of mingling the attributes of sculpture with 
those of painting, may be traced to Michelangelo. But 
not in these giant minds alone, but in all those who have 
been cited, we trace the wide-spreading, variable, and for 
that very reason digressive tendency of the new schools, 
ofiering a strong contrast to the severe simplicity of Man- 
tegna, Bellini, Perugino, with whom Masaccio may also be 
classed, and finally tho contemplative Leonardo ; although 
the last evinces a decided tendency to the new school, as 
Raphael, amongst those of the modem epoch, adheres most 
closely to the earlier style. I should be disposed to ques- 
tion much whether any master of a much later period, how- 
ever frequently cited among the new Italians, can deserve to 
hold a very distinguished place in the history of the art. 
The great era of creative genius ends with Giulio Romano 
and Correggio ; the scholastic imitations and eclectic paint- 
ings of the Carracci, and others of their kind, resemble the 
learned labours and studied Alexandrines of a poet, who, in 


that sister art, exchanges the beantifal simplidtj of true; 
sentiment and expression for servile imitations and florid 

ItaUan painting may, like its poetry, be classed in two 
distinct divisions ; the old, and the new. If the simple 
grandeur of Giotto, the masculine and wondrous concep- 
tions of Mantegna* remind us of Dante, the beauty of 
Perugino may no less aptly be compared with Petrarch, while 
Titian and Correggio seem alike representatives of Ariosto 
and Tasso. I have not cited these resemblances between 
the followers of the sister arts, simply as an exercise of 
ingenuity, but rather to illustrate the one simple yet im- 
portant principle, that nature in similar spheres observes, 
the same order of productions, and that the same stages of 
progress are apparent in all. The parallel between Italian: 
poets and painters may be carried still farther,— the pithy 
sweetness of Dominichino assimilates completely with the^ 
poetic manner of Guarini, and the sweet inspiration of Marini 
finds a correspondent analogy in the capricious Albano* 

The second general observation that occurs, relates to 
the subjects usually selected by these masters. 

It must be abready evident, (and many more proofs 
may easily be adduced in confirmation of the fact), that 
Christian subjects, as treated by the old masters, are far 
from being of their own creation ; since those which they 
have depicted are all, without exception, treated in one uni- 
form manner, which, in fact, scarcely admits the possibility 
of any great variety of expression. 

It is a matter of deep regret, that some baneful influence 
should have so far removed our modem artists from the 
range of ideas and of subjects adopted by the old masters, 
whose footsteps they would do wisely still to follow. How 
natural and laudable would it be, if modern artists pursued 
the road which Raphael, Perugino, and Leonardo trod before 
them ; — if they again imbibed their ideas and conceptions, 
drank more deeply from the well-spring of their genius, and 
thus imbued the productions of modern art with the finest 
properties of the old masters. And how inexhaustible are the* 
riches of that treasury ! How comprehensive each of those 
circles in artistic beauty and expression ! What a melanchoW 

* Fide Note by A. E. .Rio, on/^, pAgcs 7) 8. 

■ 8 

52 PAINTINGS m PARiSy 1802-1804. [letteuu. 

contrast is now apparent ! How hesitatingly do onr painters 
falter around, and, in the excess of their indecision, cling 
now to one, now to another, equally inappropriate subject, 
most of them deciding in favour of the so-called historical 
pictures, which being unsusceptible of deep natural feeling 
or spiritual symbolism, leave the loftiest objects of art un* 
attained, and even unthought of; or, perhaps, ascending a 
degree higher, they fix on some subject from ancient mytho- 
logy, the spirit and inmost being of which are so completely 
identified with the character of sculpture, that to embody 
them in painting is impossible. 

It is not my intention to treat fully in this place of a 
subject BO important ; but merely to offer a few hasty re- 
marks, which may be of use in inciting others to the con- 
sideration of the subject. 

It is a fact by no means to be overlooked, that each 
great master of the old school not only found full scope for 
imagination and originality in the sphere of Christian art, 
but, willingly confining lumself wiUiin its narrow limits, 
never grew weary of varying, by a series of experimental 
designs, subjects which might, at first sight, appear to be 
barren and unfruitful. Of this BaphaeFs numerous and 
varied representations of the Madonna afford an example, 
and the '^Crucifixion" in the same manner supplied Diirer 
with an inexhaustible field for his meditative soul. The 
*^ Herodias ** appears to have been a favourite subject with 
the school of Leonardo. The difficulty of this latter subject 
would alone make it of value in forming pupils in design. 
One picture on this subject is in the Mus^e, and another at 
Dresden ; both evidently of Leonardo's school. I have 
recently seen a thirds in a private collection, probably by 
Leonardo himself, different in execution, yet inferior to few, 
if any. 

My second preliminary observation refers to the fatal, yet 
still prevailing error of modem masters, who, in treating sub- 
jects taken from antique mythology, conform rather to the 
principles of sculpture than to those of painting, all lofty 
ideality being thus completely lost. 

I must observe, in the first place, that the old and new 
schools of Italian masters differ widely in their treatment of 
compositions from Greek subjects. 


As far as a long study of antiquity has enabled me to jndge 
of the spirit of Grecian art, I am decidedly of opinion that 
Italian masterSi even of the modern school, possibly far more 
from correct impulse and true feeling than from classical 
study, have so truly embodied the expression of ancient life 
and faith, that the artists of the present day seem, in com- 
parison, totally worthless. I have never contemplated the 
originals of the gigantic designs of Michelangelo, nor can I 
myself give an opinion on the style of Raphael in such subjects, 
his cartoon of the School of Athens having been too much in- 
jured to afford any criterion ; but the vigour, luxuriance, and 
pomp of Giulio Romano, and the pure, fascinating beauty of 
the Antiope of Correggio, seem at least drawn from inspiration 
far nearer the source than any painter of our times has ever 
ventured to approach. And yet such subjects are handled 
by these masters in a spirit differing widely from that in 
which they approach works of Christian symbolism. They 
treated them as matters of amusement, — lighter occupations 
in the intervals of their severer studies; and though not, 
perhaps, themselves fully conscious of the fact, the style of 
their works sufficiently proves it to have been so. 

In the new Italian school, on the contrary, we find the 
prevailing tendency of artistic genius to be an inclination to 
transport itself at once into the regions of mythology, often 
successfully symbolising its most mysterious conceptions. 
Not so the old school ; at least in so far as I have been able 
to judge. By them the ancient mythology is employed 
merely as a recognised symbolic power ; from it they borrow 
all^ories and ideas, when less holy solemnity is required 
than in the highest subjects of Christian faith. The sense 
in which they are employed is, moreover, very arbitrary, 
differing widely from the meaning assigned to them in 
modem times. The oldest romantic, or Proven9al poets, gave 
them the same signification. Their Gk)d of Love bears as 
little resemblance to the Greek Eros, as the Mercury of 
Mantegna does to the classic Hermes. A picture illustrative 
of these remarks may be seen in the Salon of Designs. It is 
a water-colour drawing by Perugino^ representing the strife 
of Virtue and Pleasure. Two delicate trees, the one bright 
and clear, full of little winged loves, the other gloomy, with 
A solitary owl sitting amid the branches, indicate the contest 

X 3 

'5^ PAumKos IN FABis, 1802-1804. [letteb II. 

to be depicted. Female figures, armed with lances tipped 
with flame, engage in the conflict, some on the side of love, 
and some against him. The little loves also bear their parts, 
and one woman has been atfticked bj them, and thrown 
joyously on the ground, within the domain of pleasure, 
which is represented as a wild and savage forest. A second 
woman is seen struggling with three or four of these little 
sprites^ one of whom she has already killed. The side of 
another woman is menaced by the dart of a little Cupid, a 
second clings to her shoulder, while a third is climbing up 
her robc^ The metamorphosis of Daphne, Europa on the 
bull, and other histories from Ovid, are seen in the back- 
ground, and Mercury hovers in the air. The whole com- 
position is delicate and expressive, with great clearness of 
outline and richness of colouring. 

. Albert Diirer may be styled the Shakspeare of paint- 
ing in reference to both Italian schools ; and as both he and 
Baphael ipay, by the abundance of their poetic inspiration 
and the depth and significance of their symbolic designs, 
become to the artists of the present day, a wide-spreading 
principle and guiding star of national art, my subsequent 
observations on him must be more full and particular. 
Thus much is clear: his deep-souled genius is more in 
harmony with the style of the old Italians than with the 
modern schools. 

I shall at present, without further interruption, continue 
my observations «n the works of art here assembled, since 
the examination of this series seems naturally to suggest 
the origin and explain the tendency of most of the ideas now 
^existing on the subject of art. 

I had recently an opportunity of examining a private 
collection of paintings in the possession of Lucien Buonaptute, 
from which I gained much valuable information. 

Many of the paintings have, till very lately, been the pro- 
:perty of Spain ; a country in which many other treasures, 
especially among the works of Raphael, Leonardo, and 
Titian, are still preserved, and little known in comparison 
with their other compositions in France and Italy. A 
description of these paintings wiU therefore be valuable, as 
•kin historical record, to those German artists and amateur0 
iwho have travelled in Italy only. 


The actual treasures of this collection are comparatiYelj 
few in number, and will speedily be discussed. 

I could not, while in this private gallery,, dismiss the 
reflection, that though artists may regret to see so fine a 
collection in the possession of a private individual, and there- 
fore inaccessible to the great body of artists and the public 
in general, the amateur is infinitely a gainer. A private 
collection being to him, in many important particulars, far 
superior to a public exhibition. The rooms occupied by the 
latter are frequently unsuitable, — the best paintings hung 
in a bad light, and in other respects rarely arranged as they 
ought to be. In the Parisian Museum these inconveniences 
are peculiarly obvious. The grand salon, notwithstanding 
its large dimensions, is not sufficiently spacious to receive the 
pictures without some inconvenience. Lucien Buonaparte's 
collection, being on the contrary select rather than numerous, 
fnll justice is done to every picture, and the spectator is 
never either confused or disturbed in his contemplation by 
unartistlike hanging. There are, perhaps, one or two pic- 
tures which might have a better light, but the hanging is, 
in general, excellent. This is a circumstance of great im- 
portance, and after having long sufiered inconvenience from 
the neglect of these particulars, it is doubly felt and appre- 

This collection is singularly rich in rare works of the 
Spanish school, and those in the National Museum cannot be 
compared with them in point of value. The most remarkable 
are '* Inspiration," by Murillo, and a *^ Saint at Prayer," by 
the same. The first represents a monk, in a lonely cell, wiUi 
parted lips, his bead resting on his hand, and his whole 
attitude expressing intense attention, as if completely carried 
away and entranced by the inward breathings of inspiration, 
and yet quite self-possessed, and even disposed to question 
the reality of what he hears. Though forming neither an 
unquestionably beautiful picture, nor a composition of un- 
fathomable depth and meaning, this monk is yet represented 
with a truth and fervour, which seizes and fixes the attention 
of every beholder, while the execution of the painting is 
in a style rarely equalled. There is great sameness in the 
back-ground : a dull, dark, gold colour, or rather a transparent 

)>ril]iant brown is the only tint employed ; this forms a hak 

s 4 

56 PAiKTiHGS m PARIS, 1802-1804. [letter n. 

round the head of the inspired one, and being gradoallj 
shaded into a deeper brown, is lost altogether in the back- 
ground. In the upper comer of the picture various little 
figures, supposed to indicate the revelations communicated 
to the prophet, are depicted. This representation rouses us 
to the existence of a completely new domain in the sphere of 
art, and no German or Italian painting in any degree resem- 
bles it. We often remark in Spanish painters an inclination 
to select this rapturous inspiration as the subject of their 
compositions : it is as if they sought to approach the mys- 
terious threshold of heaven and heavenly revelations, and 
thought the world of spirits alone a theme worthy the highest 
efforts of genius in their art The style of painting in these 
pictures is completely original It is easy to say, in general 
terms, that Murillo's style is not that of the old Italians, that 
he has not the bold outlines of Leonardo, nor the pure colour- 
ing and glowing life of our best masters. No; his outlines 
are soft, and undecided, and his laboured imitation of nature, 
and care in the mixing of his colours, belong rather to the 
later Italian school, and its unwearied diligence and correct- 
ness. When I consider the harmony and softness of Murillo's 
colouring, I am disposed to compare him with Domenichino, 
yet this latter master has far more delicacy of manner, and 
employs brighter tints, sometimes even pure white, in his 
colouring. Murillo is less brilliant, his designs more 
severely grand, and more melancholy in feeling and expres- 
sion ; but his infinite industxy in the finish of these indis- 
tinct outlines, and in blending hues, is equalled only by the 
later Italians, and among them, perhaps, by Correggio alone : 
like him too Murillo belongs unquestionably to the class of 
musical painters. I have once already attempted to account 
for the indecision of colouring and vagueness of outline in 
painters of genius and originality, by referring it to an assi- 
milation with a musical genius and manner of expression ; 
but where, in these or later painters, it cannot be thus ac- 
counted for, it seems to originate only in a very faulty 
tendency to deceptive representations of nature — an error 
which it scarcely belongs to the peculiar province of a 
treatise on the art to notice. The musical tendency of 
Murillo's genius is also evident in his selection of subjectSi 
and the sentimental expression of all his pictures* This^ 


howevery is more or less apparent in all paintings of the 
Spanbh schooL They are diaracterised by a serious expres- 
sion of melancholy grace, belonging to the highest range of 
art The prevaUing subjects are religious. There is at 
Dresden a Madonna in this style by Velasquez, and one very 
similar in the Parisian Museum, the design after Murillo. A 
beggar boy, by the same master, was also for a short time 
exhibited here. This boy appears bowed by misery and 
want. His ragged clothing, and the wretched furniture 
around, are in melancholy harmony with the countenance 
and attitude of the boy struggling with hunger and neglect : 
the whole is bitterly and jKunfuUy real. It is certainly a 
splendid painting, though idealists may turn from it in dis- 
gust ; but is not this a superficial feeling, as if all depended 
on the subject, and not rather on the peculiar manner in 
which it is treated ? A beggar boy is, it is true, always a 
beggar boy ; yet in how many different ways may he' not be 
represented I A humpurist will seize and depict only the 
comic points in his outward appearance, giving to the coun- 
tenance that expression of easy indifference to care which a 
thoughtless character may retain, even in the lowest depths 
of misery. A deeply-contemplative painter, a Leonardo or 
Diirer for instance, will fix his ideas on the confusion and 
distraction which misery usually imparts to the countenance, 
and even to the character, and enter so deeply into its infiu- 
ence on the mind, that the perfection of his conception and 
representation will excite the utmost wonder and astonish- 
ment. The severe taste of the Spaniard has represented 
misery in its humiliation, yet accompanied with so much 
inwaid composure and earnest seriousness, that this indi- 
vidual picture speaks to the eye and to the imagination, like 
a genend commentary on the moral degradation and poverty 
of our mortal existence. The handdng of this picture, 
excellent as it is, cannot be compared with those of " Inspi- 
ration" and '* Prayer," already mentioned. The latter is the 
size of life, as exquisitely finished as the former, to which it is 
in every respect so similar, that little need be said of it It 
appears, perhaps, more rich in ideal beautv, but that of the 
Monk ^splays more true and vigorous gemus. The glorious 
expression which in every day Uife iUnmines the countenance 
only during the brief moment of rapturous enthusiasm, is 

58 PAINTINGS IK PARIS, 1802-1804. [letter II-- 

seized at its highest point, and viyidlj embodied. Enthusiastic 
inspiration and complete self-possession, are both at the 
same moment felt and expressed ; bat how transient, how 
quickly passed that moment ! 

I have here one observation to make, which, though 
applicable to all paintings of the Spanish school, is especiaXLj 
so to those I have just described. A strongly marked na- 
tional physiognomy characterises every countenance, diffi- 
cult to define by any decided features, and yet so striking as 
to be evident at the first glance. So also the figures of 
Leonardo and Raphael are eminently Italian, and those of 
DUrer and his followers no less German in character. This, 
proves at least that painters, if left to the influence of indi- 
vidual taste and personal predilections, instead of employing 
in every subject one general ideal type, cannot, even in such 
characters as these, escape from their own individuality, 
or avoid introducing that peculiar national physiognomy 
with which they are familiar. This is at least like the art 
and manner of the old school ; an art and manner which our 
modem artists are become far too wise to adopt. But this 
very reason impels me the more frequently to insist upon 
the fact which I desire so much to impress upon their minds : 
that those who will generalise, and who indulge in purely 
abstract ideas, act in opposition to the whole circle of anti- 
quity. A very remarkable difference exists, in this respect, 
between the progress of the old Italian and German schools. 
In the former, beginning from Ghirlandajo, or even earlier, 
the figures have a very distinct Italian character : the great 
masters of a riper period heightened this originally severe 
nationality into a greater ideeJity of expression, combined, 
nevertheless, with a life-like personality, until this too is lost 
in the eclectic style of modem times, and becomes an abstract 
generality of features, an empty charm of expression devoid 
of character or significance. 

In the following short notice, I shall mention the finest 
productions of the Italian school, contained in the collec- 
tion of Lucien Buonaparte. 

A *^ Crucifixion," attributed to Michelangelo ; in colours, 
but of small dimensions, for which reason I will not vcn^ 
ture to make it the foundation of any observations, as this 


master can be understood and studied onlj in his fresco 
paintings at Rome. 

^ A ** Leda," by Andrea del Sarto ; of small propor- 
tions, yet not absolutely diminntiYe, is one of the finest 
paintings of that master. Leda stands naked in the centre, 
the swan near her, and the little cygnets breaking through 
their shells, and creeping out upon the ground. The coun- 
tenance of Leda displays a singular combination of maternal 
instinct and unrefined voluptuousness. 

The " Prodigal Son," by Titian, a large picture the 
size of life. The figures, though rather in the style of Paul 
Veronese, are by no means the best part of this painting, but 
the landscape is inexpressibly beautiful. The entire back- 
ground is occupied by a chain of blue hiUs of heavenly 
beauty, and somewhat in the style of Bellini. Is it con- 
ceivable, that after seeing a landscape such as this, which is 
not only symbolic, but at the same time a correct imitation 
of nature, artists can be satisfied with merely making copies 
of beautiful scenes ? 

A '* Spiritual -Prince," by Perugino. In the background 
are four saints in pairs reverentially kneeling. This pic- 
ture is small, and in the simple unadorned manner of that 
master ; yet it is valuable as a memento, though but a feeble 
one, of the fine style of the earlier masters, because the artist 
does not sufier his figures to appear like wandering phantoms 
gleaming theatrically through cloud and sunshine, but de- 
signs them, however small their proportions, with firm, 
decided outlines, and in perfect symmetiy, with great breadth 
of light and shade, while with silent assiduity he designs 
the lovely and expressive symbols of universal piety, invest- 
ing them with all appropriate beauty^ of colouring like a 
hieroglyphic scroll. 

A "Venus," by Allori; larger than life. The goddess 
lies unrobed in the foreground, defending herself with her 
right arm against the attacks of a little Cupid, and endea- 
vouring, unless I am deceived, to get possession of his bow. 
Her upturned head is, in spite of its strong individuality, 
fuU of fascination ; the figure is certainly that of a splendid 
woman, the colouring warm and powerful, the finishing 
elabo^e, and the execution worthy the daring idea of de- 
picting the goddess of love in naked beauty, and of more than 

60 PiJNTiNGS m PARIS, 1802-1804. [letteb n. 

human proportions. Thus the great geniuaes of former 
ages imagined their gods, and thus strove to place them in 
their migestic identity before the ejes of the wondering 
spectators. This is a most valuable work, and of surpassing 
excellence : it would be difficult to find any picture of the 
later Italian school more grandly imagined, and few are so 
powerfully executed; while still the delicate charm with 
which this master adorns pictures of smaller dimensions 
smiles on us in the richly-finished head and ringlets of the 
little Gupid. 

Paintings by this master are rarely seen ; the Parisian 
Museum has not one in its present collection. 

The " Portrait of Francis the First," by LeonaiMo, is 
here exhibited ; it is one of the most skilfully finished that 
we have of this master's. Beyond it, is a half-length of a 
woman holding a wine-cup ; her countenance seems familiar 
to us, and has certainly many of those peculiarities which 
distinguish the school of Leonardo ; it somewhat resembles 
the *' Herodias" in the Parisian Museum. The most valuable 
work of Leonardo's in this collection is an allegorical picture 
representing ** Modesty and Vanity,"* and seems intended to 
contrast a spiritual and retiring piety with worldly vanity 
and pomp. It is a half-length, and contains these two figures 
only : the Grood Principle is here kept rather in the back- 
ground, its influence being, as the intention of the subject 
requires, rather negative than actual, and the colouring of 
the figure is dim and feeble; perhaps only to heighten the 
effect by contrasting it with the highly-finished personifica- 
tion of Worldly Vanity, its self-satisfied smile and elaborate 
costume. This design is extremely significant Symbolic 
paintings of this character require to be severely analysed ; 
we must look through the life-like individuality apparent in 
the working out of the design, and penetrate its abstract 
idea, striving to trace the deep, hidden meaning of the phi- 
losopher's soul through the exterior garb of art. 

This collection, l^ides a ** Sketch for the head of Je- 
hovah," by Raphael, and a charming *^ Portrait of the Painter 
il Fattore," contains two *' Madonnas," one of which, purchased 
in Spain, may compete with the noblest conceptions of that 
glorious genius. It is the size of life, the landscape open and 

* This picture la now in the Seiarra Place, Rome. 


glowing, and in this respect also, as well as in the brilliant 
beauty of the colouring, surprisingly and charmingly similar 
to that known as the Giardiniera. The child is sleeping*, 
and the mother silently withdraws the veil that covers him, 
to gaze upon him, while St. John stands praying by her 
side. The entire composition, and particularly the attitude 
of the sleeping child, is very like that known by the name 
of the Silence, which has been already described, and is be- 
sides familiar from having been frequently the subject of 
engravings. This picture seems, indeed, a combination of 
the Giardiniera and the Silence, different portions of it 
appearing to be borrowed as much from one as the other, 
so that it is difficult to say which of the two it most resembles. 
The head and countenance of the little St. John, though 
intrinsically childlike, happy, and vigorous, are broader, 
and not altogether so noble as in other Holy Families by 
BaphaeL The same may be said of the infant Christ, and also 
of another Madonna of Raphael's in this collection, and 
which resembles the Madonna della Sedia, both in the ex- 
pression of the countenance, and also in the manner in 
which the Blessed Mother holds the/;hild : at least as far as 
we are able to form an opinion from copies and engravings, 
the original being deposited in the palace of St. Cloud, and 
therefore not accessible to the public. The Madonna in 
this collection is called the '^ Yierge aux CandSabres," f from 
the ornaments surrounding it. All these compositions com- 
bine to prove the truth of my former assertion, that Ra- 
phael's numerous pictures of the Virgin follow each other 
in regular order and gradation, clearly showing the transi- 
tion in his mind from one idea of the appropriate treatment 
of his subject to another. We see him striving to embody 
the ideal form imaged in his soul by various and almost in- 
congruous methods ; we follow him through every modifica- 
tion of earthly charms and loveliness, from the Giardiniera 
and the Madonna della Sedia to the highest degree of godlike 
sublimity, as displayed in the great picture of the l^donna 
at Dresden.} Finally, a marvellously beautiful ^^ Holy Fa- 

* A picture ia which the infiint Christ is represented asleep is gene- 
rally ealled •' Silentium." 

t Now in the palace at Lucca. Kugler's Translation, 80. 9. 

I The Raphael-like ** Madonnas" at Florence are deeply imbued with 

62 PAiNTiNas IN PARIS, 1802-1804. [letter n. 

jxalj/* by l^llini, a half-length, the size of life ; on a Hght 
ground and with brilliant lights introdaced. On the right 
of the spectator is a saint turning affectionately towards the 
child; on the left, Joseph, a majestic old man ; the Virgin ^s 
in the centre. The child's attention seems occupied partly 
by the old man, and partly by St. John, who stands, praying, 
below in the foreground; his arms are folded upon his 
breast ; his eyes deep black, and hair black and curling : the 
whole figure beautifully childlike, and simple, full of truth 
and nature. The countenance of the saint is graceful and 
expressive, rather resembling one of those in the train of 
Mary ascending to the Temple, in Bellini's beautiful pic- 
ture at Dresden. Not so the Blessed Virgin : her coun- 
tenance wears an expression of languor, or even sadness, 
which makes it bewitchingly tender. This intentional con- 
trast to the brilliant beauty of the surrounding figures is 
most pleasing ; it seems as though the painter would fain 
have given ffer some charm more exalted than mere beauty, 
and thus indicate the Divinity, which it is impossible to 
represent. The child is even more wonderfuL Any one 
whose ideas of art go no further than the correct imitation 
of what is beautiful and charming, will admire it but little, 
preferring rather the infant St. John. But the rapt, me- 
ditative air of the Saviour, the clustering curls that crown 
his head with peculiar beauty, the clear and well defined 
outline of the figure, which is, notwithstanding, round and 
childish in contour, immediately inspire the thought that 
this child is no ordinary creation, nor is it possible to en- 
tertain any other idea than that he is divine. What could 
be a more worthy object of the painter's art, in such a sub- 
ject, or rather such an ideal conception as this ? By the 
union of apparently incongruous materials indicating, rather 
than attempting, to picture the indescribable and unseen ; — 

the expression of silent deyotion and inward piety. They are of moderate 
dimensions, and the treatment very simple. One is in the Casa Tempi, 
the other in the Pitti Palace ; not, however, forming part of the collec- 
tion, but hung, when I saw it in 1819, in the Grand Duke's chamber. 
This latter is indeed worthy of the highest praise, and, with the similar 
pictures of the Madonna, might occupy a middle place in the complete 
series, as forming a link between the almost too childlike, yet loveiy 
Giardiniera, and the grand pictures in hu later manner. 

£tT^rBB n.] BELUNI. — GVTDO. 63 

this is the onlj style of painting to which the term Ideality 
can with justice be applied ; and therefore this conception 
of the Saviour, in which nature appears to have united and 
modified all her contending faculties, is essentiallj childlike, 
and for that reason correct, it having been a too common 
error with other masters to attempt to convey an idea of the 
m-dwelling power of divinity by a wUd Ld uiKshildUke 

This collection contains several other valuable paintings^ 
of the Italian School. One is a most beautiful "Judith," but 
the painter^s name is unknown to me. A " Magdalene," by 
Guide, not only excelling most of the pictures I have seen 
by this master, but in warmth and richness of colouring 
surpassing even the Fortuna (No. 800.) in the Mus^ Also 
a few other portraits and small pictures of the old school, 
many of which, though at first thrown into the background 
by the vicinity of such acknowledged masterpieces of genius, 
deserve separate study and attention, because reiterat^ eza* 
mination frequently reveals new, beautiful, and characteristic 

This hasty notice mav, in the meantime, be of service 
to those who comprehend and enter into the designs of such 
compositions, enabling them to estimate rightly the value 
and importance of this noble collection. 

May I here be permitted to pause for a moment, be- 
fore proceeding to the consideration of other memorials of 
the art of painting, and select this place as well adapted for 
the introduction of a few general observations which will 
form the best preparation for our future researches? An 
examination of all the really important paintings now col- 
lected at Paris, such as I hope gradually to complete, and 
which I shall strive to render as perfect as possible, may 
become historically valuable to posterity ; and I am induced 
to attempt the execution of it, believing that it cannot fail 
to interest every real lover of the art ; but as it is scarcely 
possible to describe painting, except from some definite point, 
and in accordance with some peculiar and determined feature 
of the art, I have endeavoured to fix on some such principle 
as the basis of every idea and observation here introduced ; 
and although I presume not to anticipate a general and un- 
reserved assent to my opinions, I must hope that many even 

64 PAINTIKaS m FABIS, 1802-1804. [LBTrn It 

of those who differ from me will perceive with pleasure the 
advantage of such unity and connection as I have thought 
to preserve throughout. I feel it, therefore, incumbent on 
me to afford my readers some insight into mj general feeling 
for the art, and to trace to their source those peculiar ideas 
and principles, in regard to manner and style, to which pos- 
sibly their attention may now be directed for the first time : 
so that every one will easily perceive the particular grounds 
on which we agree or differ in opinion, as well as the grounds 
on which that difference rests; and this criterion will make 
him the better able to judge how far my observations are 
likely to guide him, and in what points they militate against 
his own opinions. 

It must, in the first place, be remembered, that the follow- 
ing ideas are far from being designed to form any thing like 
an arbitrary or well-digested theory, but are almost entirely 
practical, being founded on examples of the finest and most 
excellent compositions of the Grerman and Italian masters ; 
indeed I have had no other object in view than to lead back 
the taste of modem times, and to form it in some degree on 
the models of these old masters. I would only remind those 
who are prone to philosophise even in the study of the arts, 
that there would be no difficulty in collecting all that is 
known and acknowledged to be actually correct and right 
in painting, and condensing it into certain general rules and 
axioms ; but that, at the same time, the true idea of the art 
might be completely lost sight of, not only as it is traced in 
the systems of the great masters before mentioned, but even 
in those more important principles founded on the essential 
qualities of the human intellect and organisation, and the 
observation of nature. Consequently, the very facility of 
such a system as the above makes it the less desirable to be 
attempted, as likely to lead to great misapprehensions and to 
militate against the true interests of the art The divine repre- 
sentative art does, indeed, comprehend something more than 
the mere delineation of human nature, which such an arbi- 
trary classification of its powers would seem to imply. Con- 
secrated as it is to the glorification of the Divinity, we must 
seek those results which we are accustomed to extol so 
highly, in an original freedom of will and emancipation from 
all arbitrary restraint, becauflc, knowing and living among 


fMngs of ordinary necessity and indispensability alone, it 
can attain the iiighest strength of freedom, only as an excep- 
tion to general rules, and the positive, only by refusing to 
submit to oonyentional restrictions. We may perhaps say 
of many very useful arts, that they necessarily arise as the 
reason of mankind becomes developed and material objects 
concur to render them necessary or desirable. But far be it 
from me thus to sin against the hallowed art of painting : it 
is not necessary to the existence of mankind. Its pure 
being has no influence upon the natural system, and if an- 
nihilated, it would make no change in the laws which govern 
the world, nor rob its arrangement of either strength or 
order. Yet were this more than intellectual, this truly 
beaven-inspired art destroyed, man would lose one of the 
most powerful means of uniting with the Divinity, of draw- 
ing himself closer to the Godhead. In this instance, as well 
as in many others, it would be well if philosophy thought 
less of investigating and scientifically explaining the idea 
of divinity ; of defining, and proving, and attempting, as it 
were, to bring it materially before our eyes, because, by so 
doing, it completely mistakes its true principle, denies its 
spirituality, weaving into it the idea of earthly necessity, and 
drawing it down within the sphere of exact thought and rea- 
soning, thus affording unlimited satisfaction to those who 
altogether deny a positive manifestation of the £temal. 

The idea of the art can be explained only through, and in 
connexion with, practical representation, and its tiieoretical 
principles must be sought and traced in the experience of 

The opinions here advanced have been touched upon in 
a preceding portion of this work, and are now merely brought 
together in a more distinct form. Still they are for the most 
part inconclusive, and leave the freest and fullest scope for 
further elucidation by originality and creative genius, when 
once the right path of painting shall be found, or rather 
when men shall once more return to walk in it* 

The first of these immutable principles is, that thero 
is, properly speaking, no peculiar branch in the art of 
painting, except the complete compositions, usually termed 
historical, but which, instead of being restricted to any such 
specific name or title, should rather be generally termed 

66 PAnrriNQs in pabis, 1802-1804. [lettsb n. 

flymbolic paintings. What is usually said of other branches 
treated as in themselves distinct and unconnected, is a vain 
and imaginary delusion. Landscape, for example, forms the 
background in those pictures of the higher class which I 
term symbolic, and is in its proper sphere ahd endowed with 
its full force of expression when thus introduced alone. In 
foregrounds, however, it should be very slightly treated, 
lest too great correctness and minuteness produce the effect 
of a representation of inanimate nature alone. In this 
manner the beautiful landscapes of Leonardo, Raphael, 
Titian, and Bellini are treated. A mere representation of 
inanimate nature, without reference to any other object, 
cannot be very interesting ; but becomes, when in its proper 
sphere and appropriately treated, fraught with beauty and 
expression : as for example, when broken and scattered, as 
we see the for^rounds of D^rer*s compositions, or when in- 
troduced with such wonderful effect by Mantegna, or in still 
higher perfection by Leonardo : it is indeed employed more 
or less by aU the great masters of antiquity. The effect of 
such accessory wo^s (as they may be cidled) depends almost 
entirely on their entering appropriately into the general 
structure of the design ; and so again their significance is in- 
creased by the admirable and artistic beauty of their treat- 
ment. The same observation implies to the so-called flower- 
pieces, which are significative only when used to crown some 
picture, with the expression of which they form an harmoni- 
ous combination, as was first most ably demonstrated by Cor- 
reggio, Raphael, and Mantegna. Indeed, all these accessories 
derive their interest from forming component parts of an en- 
tire composition. Symbolism appears to have been a primary 
object with all the eariier masters. Without it, landscape and 
still-life painting becomes a mere exercise of mechanical fa- 
cility in surmounting difficulties, or even declines into a dis- 
cordant and worthless medium for the bare copying of visible 
and sensible charms; or still worse, a most unartistic conmion- 
place. Even portrait-painting forms no exception to this rule. 
It is no less necessaiy than landscape in every perfect 
composition, and woe to that historical picture which con- 
tains no figure or countenance likely to excite the remark 
that its expression of truth and intelligence produces the 
effect of a portrait, even though it be not one ! It is cer- 
tainly no subject of reproach to an artist, if besides those 


more imporUnt works, in the prodoctioii of which eYerj 
effort of hiB genias is concentrated, he occasionally imagines 
some isolated and expressive ooantenance, and fixes his 
mind npon the contemplation of it Many great masters 
have done this, and we find designs of theirs rich in inyen- 
tive genius, yet either left unexecuted or fijiished on a plan 
totally different to the original design. All these sketches 
shoold, however, be treated merely as fragments ; outlines 
and ideas for future works ; or studies, intended for the in- 
dividnal benefit of the painter; not complete or finished 
works of art 

The historical interest attaching to portraits, as faith- 
ful representations of remarkable personages of other times, 
will always give them a certain value, even though not 
exalted by artistic treatment and feeling. The same may 
be said of landscape^drawing, since^ if true to nature, it 
places before our eyes some beloved and familiar spot in all 
its native beauty ; or perhi^ a wondrous scene in some far 
distant land, a magnificent assemblage of mountains, woods, 
and water. What eye would not r^oice to wander over a 
representation of such lovely scenes, — perhaps situated in 
a part of the world so distant, that there is little probability 
of^ their ever being personally visited; or still more^ when 
the picture recalls familiar scenes, localities endeared pj 
memory and associations ? Thus we value a collection of 
engravings presenting true portraits of personages famed 
in history, or representations of people and of customs 
in distant parts of the world, or of whatever our native 
country may contain of rare and valuable, harmonising 
with the before-named characteristics of the art Stil^ 
these accessories can no more be styled essential branches of 
the art, than works of travel, however interesting, or of 
biography, though inspired by the utmost taste and feeling, 
can deserve to be ranked among poetical works ; notwith- 
standing the acknowledged truth that just delineations of 
character and glowing descriptions of nature form essential 
parts of a perfect poem, of which indeed they are necessary 
elements. However, we cannot be astonished that portrait 
and landscape painting should be highly esteemed ; for, apart 
from the personal or historical interest attached to a por- 
trait^ the delineation of the human countenance must always 

F 2 

68 PAiNTiKOS IN PARIS, 1802-1804. [letteb il 

rank among the highest efforts of the art. The view of a 
rich landscape, whether represented in a picture or seen in 
the brighter beautj of nature herself, excites in every sus- 
ceptible mind soothing and agreeable sensations ; jet, as in 
nature herself, the original expression remains the same, 
with little change or variety, there must neceissarilj be a 
certain degree of monotony in the enjoyment iniparted by 
such representations. Grenerally, however, the symbolic 
will very easily overpower and efface the natural expres- 
sion in isolated landscapes ; and it is for this reason, that 
having once consented to consider landscape-painting as 
a separate branch, I prefer the adoption of a simple con- 
fined style, like that of Buvsdael, in whose paintings a 
few trifling circumstances of ordinary nature are, by per- 
fect artistic treatment and the deep sentiment imparted to 
them, exalted into a splendid work of art, in which nature 
reveals herself in a flood of gushing beauty to the eyes 
of every one capable of feeling and appreciating her charms. 
In fact, such a painting offers a completely artistic repre- 
sentation ; while, on the contrary, in every other description 
of landscape, not excepting even that lofty style in which 
Claude Lorraine unquestionably holds the first rank, the 
painter enters the lists against nature herself, vieing with 
her in the delineation of her highest and grandest scenes of 
beauty. If the result be successful, our astonishment sub- 
dues every other feeling, absorbing even the pure sentiment 
of the art ; and still it must be remembered that the ma- 
jesty of nature will ever remain unattainable, even by the 
highest artistic efifbrts. 

Every art should strive to attain perfection in what 
peculiarly characterises and distinguishes it from others. If 
sculpture be most fitted to represent the pure simple forms of 
actual material beauty, — if music, the language of the soul, 
concentrate in herself the power of arousing every deeper feel- 
ing, — so the most appropriate sphere of the spiritual art of 
' painting, its fittest aim and object, is the imparting a glorified 
expression to individual figures, or diffusing a divine and 
lioly sentiment throughout a composition. 

Not only are the productions of the art often divided into 
the so-called branches and species, thereby destroying its very 
essence and vitality, but the art itself is further subdivided into 
certain fixed elements, styled design, expression, colouring, 


and I know not what. Thus to sever what is originally and 
etemallj one, is a most destructive error, and the lofty spirit 
eludes the rude grasp of those who would thus foolishly 
disturb its perfect unity. Yet this analysis of the art, this 
reducing it to its primitive elements, is no new error, that is 
to say, it has not originated entirely with the modems. It 
may be recognised even in the Carracci, and we are indebted 
to Mengs for having made it most clearly evident. No 
painter can in truth be called a good master who does not 
set himself in decided opposition to such a mode of reason- 
ing ; and that critic knows little of painting who believes that 
Raphael's colouring or Correggio's designs might have been 
altered and thereby improved. It is vexatious continually 
to repeat this alphabet of the first principles of painting. 
If people must divide and analyse, let them confine their 
operations to things which may be divided, — and what are 
these ? The letter and the spirit — words and ideiis. Be- 
tween these there will always exist a chasm, whether we 
consider the arts, or philosophy, or real life ; how many ex- 
cellent pictures are to be seen, the design of which we readily 
allow to be noble and admirable, but the execution, although 
artistic and uncommon, we yet feel, is far from carrying out 
the full significanc*e and intention of the conception. Other 
pictures may be cited, admirable in execution, yet in which 
the idea {since a picture can scarcely be formed without 
some ideal design) is yet far less significant than in many 
other compositions. But it is for perfect execution, or what 
people usually consider as the whole of the art, to combine 
every essential element — correct outline, as well as appropri- 
ate colouring and expression, — so that united they may form 
an harmonious and indivisible whole. The invention must also 
be so managed, that what is called order and arrangement may 
be combined therewith ; in a word, it must be poetry in 
painting. Not that the subject need be poetical; yet the 
painter, if he would be worthy of the name and not merely 
a servile copyist, must inwardly conceive and arrange the 
design he seeks to represent. The spirit and the letter too, 
mechanism and poetry, are all elements of painting, although 
it is possible for one to exist in far greater perfection than, or 
even in the absence of, the other. It will be expedient, before 
proceeding further, to explain a possible misunderstanding in 

F 3 

70 PAIKTIN08 m PABXS, 1802-1804. [lbtteb il 

r^ard to the cultivation of poetrj, to which these observa- 
tions may give birth. A painter must be a poet This is 
bejond all question : not however a poet in words, but in 
colouring. Still, poetry must be as completely diffused 
throughout the whole composition as it is in the works of an 
actual poet, if they be indeed poetry. The example of the 
old masters affords us here the best guiding star. It is 
true, if poetry be supposed to exist in wards alone, very few 
of the antique pictures can be termed poetic, and those few 
rather frivolously imagined and not of the lofHest grade. 
But we understand the word in a more extended sense, as 
exemplifying the poetic idea of things ; and this the old 
masters imbibed from its purest source. Their poetry took 
its rise sometimes in religion, as in Angelico, Ferugino^ and 
Fra Bartolommeo, and many others; sometimes in philo- 
sophy, as in the deeply meditative Leonardo ; or, was drawn 
equally from both, as in the unfathomable Durer. The 
actual poetry of that period, as known in the world, and by 
painters, was far less poetical, if I may be permitted the ex- 
pression, than the devotional ideas of the Catholic faith, or 
the contemplative philosophy of the artist But since then, 
philosophy has quitted the region of mathematics and na- 
tural science, and withdrawn into the realm of pure, abstract 
ideas and words, whither the painter is not permitted to 
follow her ; and since then too, religion becoming more con- 
fined within the province of ethics, the painter, whose art is 
far more universal and comprehensive than either music or 
sculpture, has no resource left but to seize and employ every 
thing beautiful and immortal which he can gather from other 
arts, and more especially from poetry, in whose, glorious in- 
spiration he finds united both the pure simplicity of devo- 
tion, and the profound natural philosophy of other days. 
Now it is beyond all doubt, that this poeticfd expression may 
be traced in all ancient pictures, both of the Italian and 
German schools, and was the moving principle and the ulti- 
mate aim of all the old masters : my present observations on 
the principal paintings of the old schools, are confined to 
the simple object of tracing and pointing out more suc- 
cessfully this poetical design. And the following remaxkB 
may help to explain the practical notions generally exist- 
ing concerning the poetical ideas of the ancient masters. 

lbttbbil] PAnmKG and soulptuke, 71 

People say, ^'the painter should study nature," or, to speak 
more eorrectlj, the divinitj that is in nature. Let it not 
be' imagined that this is a mere speculatiye subtiltj: my 
meaning must be obvious to all whose minds are not en- 
tirely unskilled in tracing the connexion between words 
and ideas ; and the artist especially will feel the distinction 
to be most just, although it is possible that he may not 
himself find language, or be able to explain in words his 
own deeply felt idea so clearly as an unmoved spectator. 
What then is the divinity in nature ? It is not life and 
strength alone, but the one incomprehensible union of soul, 
expression, and individuality ; and this we believe to be the 
proper aim of painting. Sculpture mav perhaps more suc- 
cessfully embody the ever-springing life, the inexhaustible 
strength of nature, or give the simplest imitation of ma- 
terial forms, or the contrast of happiness and death ; but 
painting will mistake her own peculiar province, if, instead 
of following the track of the old masters, she diverges from 
it to pursue the objects more peculiarly appertaining to 
sculpture, which must result only in vain delusive attempts, 
or in producing a feeble and sickly shadow of the antique. 
And this brings me to a third and most important principle, 
— painting must be painting, and nothing else; — and how- 
ever trite and commonplace this observation may appear, it 
is in general far too litUe regarded. I would therefore en- 
force it with all the earnestness which its importance de- 
mands. It is true that I have extolled some paintings as 
chamcteristic and significant in which I have nevertheless 
traced a prevailing tendency to the musical expression. But 
I employed this term chiefly in reference to the governing 
idea of the composition, and the grandeur with which that 
idea is expressed ; besides, it is not always possible to resist 
the influence of a great and genial error, prevailing so uni- 
versally among the friends of the art. Neither is it neces^ 
saiy to warn ariists of the present day against the errors 
of Corr^gio, since they are not likely to be in danger from 
his example until they reach a very high degree of excel- 
lence as painters, of which at present th^ give little pro* 
mise. The prevailing tendency to identify painting with 
sculpture is an error far more dangerous and exceptionable 
than musical painting, and leads to a complete misconceptioa 

P 4 

72 PAun'iNGs IN FABI8, 1802-1804. [letteb in. 

of both. In the French school this error is peculiarly con- 
spicuous, and the ground of it may also be traced in Mengs. 
A sound inquiry into and examination of the principles of 
the antique will fully prove that painting is not sculpture, 
and that the ideal of the two arts is completely distinct. 
Should it be objected that to insist upon the prevalence of 
the poetical idea, is to oppose the assertion that painting 
must primarily be itself and nothing else, we reply, first — 
that poetry alone, amongst all other arts, enters intrinsically 
into the genius of each, and forms a general and universal 
link between all, however otherwise distinct ; and secondly, 
that in speaking thus I refer to artistic invention which is 
poetical only in the subject and mechanism, the creation of 
which must of course differ greatly from the actual poetry 
of words. 


Tlie Treasures of the Art exemplified in a Recapitulation of diflerent 
Faintings belonging to the old Italian School. — The <• Carit^** of 
Andrea del Sarto, and ** A Deposition from the Cross,** by Bramante ; 
<* St Agatha," by Sebastian, del Piombo. — On Martyrdom, as a 
Theme for the Art, and the earliest Subjects of Christian Paintings.—. 
On DUrer*s Designs, considered as suggestive Ideas for Paintings. — 
The ** Madonna della Sedia,*' and the ** Saint Cecilia,'* of Raphael. — 
Paintings by Le Sueur. — Remarks on a few antique early French 
Monuments ; on Pointing on Glass. — The ** Antiope " of Titian. 

The art of painting having gradually abandoned its early 
office of adorning the sacred edifices of the Christian faith, 
and placing the mysteries of our holy religion more clearly 
and beautifully before the eyes of men than could be effected 
by words alone, became ere long frivolous and unmeaning, 
till, vacillating between misconceptions of the ideal and a 
faulty struggle after mere effect, it wandered still farther 
from the high object to which it had been originally devoted, 
and eventually degenerated into uninteresting and common- 
place generalities. Every attempt to separate the theory 
of the art from its practice will in the same manner lead 


iiiTariably either to empty generalities or fantastic dreams 
of the imagination. In pursuing, therefore, my present 
attempt to develope the true and correct principles of the 
art, I shall, instead of confining myself to a theoretical out- 
line alone, accompany my observations by such an uninter^ 
rupted description of various old paintings as may amply 
suffice to illustrate the ideas suggested. This description 
will form an appropriate introduction to my subsequent 
remarks, the results of which will thus rise naturally, and 
arrange themselves according to certain general principles 
whose innate affinity and connection will be easily perceived 
by every reflecting mind. 

It is true that no contemplation of works of art can be 
throughout entirely systematic, more especially at the pre- 
sent time; still the unconnected character of these obser- 
vations need not by any means interfere with the general 
unity of the views set forth in the minds of those who have 
already imbibed correct ideas of the art ; and it may be in a 
certain degree advantageous, as serving continually to re- 
mind us of a fact in the history of art, which ought never 
to be forgotten. A fragmentary form is indeed the most 
appropriate for observations on an art which is in itself no 
more than a fragment, the ruined remains of by-gone times. 
The great body of Italian paintings is torn in pieces and dis- 
persed, and rarely, very rarely, indeed, do we see any atten- 
tion given to the older masters of the Italian school, or to the 
study of their works, although the original idea and object 
of the art is far more simply and naturally expressed in their 
compositions than in those of a later period. The old Ger- 
man school is in even a more deplorable state, although its 
preservation is of equal, perhaps even of greater importance 
than the other, on account of the decided superiority it 
evinces in principles and technicalities, because also it was 
more true to the object of religion, and besides remained 
always pure painting, not infringing the limits which pro- 
perly divide that art from others. Yet, both German and 
Italian schools are now almost entirely unknown. The art, 
as a whole, no longer exists, and a few vanishing traces 
alone remain which may again furnish ideas for future de- 
velopment to those who, alive to the spirit of the past, are 
prepared to imbibe them. As we proceed in our survey of 

74 PAiNTiNOs or PABis, 1802-1804. [lsttbb m. ^I 

modern art> this dismembennent appears to us under a new 
light. The paintings at present existing are not onl^ dis- 
persed throughout idi lands, and formed into the most hete* 
Togeneous coUectionSy not one of which is altogether satis- 
factory and complete, but pictures requiring to be viewed 
and studied together are, on the contrary, widely distant 
from each other. Christian art is in itself but a fragment, 
and probably will never be completed ; and although this is 
less palpably evident in painting than in the ruineii towers 
and churches of Grothic architecture, many of which have 
remained unfinished during the last thousand years, and 
have been suffered in that state to fltdl into decay and ruin, 
the observation is equally true of painting, and applicable 
to the Italian no less than to the G-erman schools. 

In the sphere of Christian art we frequently find paintings 
even of the earliest style deeplv imbued with true ideas of 
art^ and rich in the most beautiful symbolism ; such pictures 
are often also very finely imagined, and correctly and power* 
fully executed, even in those mechanical points in which 
the art was as yet in its infancy. What an abundance of 
heavenly imaginings are found in the works of Angelioo da 
Fiesole! how rich a store of pure and lovely ideas! although 
he belongs, in regard to technicalities, to the very infancy 
of the art, and is in this respect far inferior to his contem* 
poraries of the old German schools. When a higher per- 
fection was attained in technical execution, painters, feding 
confidence in their own powers, aimed at combining the 
richest luxuriance of outward charms with the loftier in- 
trinsic beauties of soul and expression, and the original 
inspiration thus became clouded by secondary views, until 
it was at length entirely lost. Artists, ambitious to excite 
astonishment by the display of their extraordinary acquire- 
ments and consummate skill, made it their great object to 
charm the senses and communicate voluptuous sensations, 
or, beguiled into the pursuit of other objects equally fri- 
volous and vain, selected their subjects from Pagan mytho- 
logy, and even treated sacred themes in a superficial manner : 
addressing themselves to the senses alone, they degenerated 
into an fdmost heathen style, and that alone would suffice 
to render Christian compositions tame and spiritless. The 
Italian school, in its decline, became first studied and un- 


artistic, and at length descended into a vague idealitj, des- 
titute of all character and expression. The German schools 
appear to have been less near perfe<^on than the Italian, 
and their present state is also much more imperfect. The 
Beformation, by estranging the ideas of art from their 
accustomed channel of Christian devotion, produced in Ger- 
manj a violent change and division. Hence ensued in the 
new school of the Netherlands a kind of elementary analysis 
of the art) the influence of which induced men, when the 
subverted principles were at length brought into a kind of 
system, to tear from their proper connexion all the un- 
imaginative parts of a perfect composition, and treat them 
as distinct branches, thus producing not only landscape and 
portrait-painting, but cooking and kitchen pictures, hunting 
and d(^-kennel studies, fruit, flower, and cattle-pieces, archi- 
tecture and still-life, domestic scenes, and whimsical cari- 
catures, battle-piecesy and half-comic representations of the 
lower classes of the people : all treated separately and in the 
highest degree of technical perfection, till at last this chaotic 
confusion of chivalric designs, and copies of the rudest every- 
day sultjectS) overwhelmed every true idea of art, substi- 
tuting bare technicalities in their room. 

That happy combination of fine conceptions, perfect out- 
lines, and a delicious abundance of sensible beauty, which 
characterises the compositions of the old masters at the 
period of their greatest brilliancy, existed but for a few 
fleeting moments. The harmonious perfection of every 
part,* which is still prised above all other beauties, appears 
to be rather a glorious exception than the general rule, and 
therefore, easy as it is to describe in general terms the pro- 
gress of the art, it is useless to attempt to preserve a severe 
regularity in the explanatory details of each step. One single 
work frequently soars far above all other productions of the 
same master, or is even greatly in advance of the time and 
the general style of art at that period. We must keep 
this observation continually in view during the following 
description, and I shall not neglect to draw attention to it 
whenever an opportunity occurs of so doing. 

Many of the paintings of the later schools now in the 
Grand Salon of the Louvre have been already exhibited, 
and but few among them deserve especial notice : perhaps 

76 PAINTINGS IN PABis, 1802-1804. [letter m. 

one of the most charming of the newlj-exhibited pictures 
is the "Caritk" of Andrea del Sarto (No. 8. in the Cat.)* 
Charitj is here persopified as a loving mother surrounded 
and caressed by her happj children : one at her bosom, one 
in her lap, playing joyously with flowers and fruit, and 
a third lying at her feet in quiet slumber. The mother 
is of lofty stature, slender in form, and noble in de- 
meanour; her countenance and clear, bright eyes very 
beautiful and individual, and the head-dress characteristic 
and appropriate. The idea embodied in this picture is 
simple, beautiful, and easily recognised ; its highest charm 
seems to consist in the expression, the cheerful beauty, and 
next to that, perhaps, in the colouring. The blue and 
crimson tints in the mother's robe are so delicate, trans- 
parent and brilliant, and the carnations in the flesh of the 
naked boy sleeping between its folds, so beautifully blended 
and softly* subdued, bright, yet not in the least degree 
glaring, that it seems as if our open glowing eyes drank in 
at every glance the soft fascination of love. This picture 
is one of the old collection, and I have never seen any by 
the same master in a similar manner, nor half so exquisitely 
charming. It seems as if among all the successors and 
imitators of Raphael, the excellent Andrea alone had in- 
herited the versatility and varied genius of his great master. 
Each of these followers has his own decided manner, from 
which he rarely deviates, though perhaps, as is the case 
with Giulio Romano, he merely carries some single pecu- 
liarity of his master's genius more fully and powerfully, it 
is true, yet, at the same time, with a greater degree of pre- 
judice and partiality. But, however different the pictures 
of Raphael may be in themselves, his predilection for the 
same oft-repeated subject, and the constantly recurring re- 
semblance of many individual figures, make those of Andrea 
del Sarto appear Hke multiplied variations on the basis of 
the same all-pervading theme. 

The " Birth of the Saviour," by Spagnuoletto, is re- 
markably fine in colouring and expression, deserving of 
notice also from the individual beauty of other parts : few 
pictures by this master are free from the defects of the later 
Italian style and the rude school of the naturalist!. The 
lively ultra-marine in the drapery of the mother, and the 


brilliant realitj of the colouring, together with a freshness 
and jojous vigour rarelj found among modern Italians, 
rivet our attention to this picture, and perhaps we gaze 
longest on the figure of the old shepherd, which is almost 
lai^er than life, and being placed close to the margin, on 
the right, seems intended to indicate the foreground. There 
is a bold grandeur both in the figure and the honest, open 
countenance, while the rude and tattered skin with which 
be is girded is painted with a truth and solidity almost like 
nature : the whole figure is uncommon, stepping forward 
with an expression of thoughtfulness and integrity. So fine 
a composition is rarelj seen among the Italian paintings of 
that epoch. Possibly the Spaniard may have engrafted his 
own serious character on the ordinary Italian manner, and 
in fact the apparent solidity and general treatment remind 
us rather of Murillo than of the laborious industry of the 

A " Visitation of the Virgin," by Andrea da Salerno * 
(No. 5.), is completely in the old style, although not of very 
early date. " Zacharias'' is a portrait of the poet Bernardo 
Tasso, and the other figures represent various historical 
characters of Salerno f : it is not of much value generally, 
and marked on the whole by a sort of similarity with the 
bad or indifierent pictures of the old German and Flemish 
schools rather than with the best. We trace a surprising 
resemblance in the old manner of both these schools, not 
in their most excellent paintings alone, but also in their 
worst ; a convincing proof that both Grermans and Italians 
drew their earliest inspiration from the same source. 

There is here an excellent female portrait byBordone, 
and also the "Ring of St. Mark** (No. 15.). The latter is 
a large picture in the Venetian style, rich in figures, and full 
of life and action: it represents the assembled nobles of 
Venice, while a poor fisher, humbly approaching, exhibits 
to them the ring, which he had received from the patron 
saint of that city, and they proclaim its promised salvation 
from the overwhelming inundation with which it is me- 
naced. The simplicity of the arrangement and the beautiful 
colouring afibrd a pleasing proof that the later masters of 

* Otherwise called Sabbatini (Andrea). 

t The Virgin it said to be a portrait of the Princess of Salerno of the 
family of VUla Marina. Cat. 1816. — Tram. 

78 TAJKTDXGB IN PABUi, 1802-1804. [lbttbb HI* 

the Venetian school long retained the beantifal style of their 

A portrait of BandineUi, painted bj himself, adds another 
to the circle of charming portraits by Italian masters, now 
to be seen in Paris. How noble, lofty, and intelligent must 
the men of those days have been, if we judge of them 
from their ontward appearance alone ! It is tme that we 
cannot expect in Bandinelli the deep, sool-felt calm, the 
delightful individuality of Leonardo's portrait, nor the lofty, 
yet love-inspiring hauteur of Grarofalo; he does not possess 
the wild and savage grandeur of Giulio Bomano, nor tiie 
noble, manly, and sedate expression of n Fattore; still his 
countenance is ikr from commonplace : it has much vigour 
and expression, in which, however, pedantry, combined with 
an indomitable self-love, appears to me to predominate. 

There is one picture, a *' Deposition from the Cross ** 
by Bramante of XJrbino, a celebrated architect of tiie fif- 
teenth century, worthy of earnest and reiterated study and 
investigation, and which seems to excite greater wonder 
and astonishment the more frequently it is viewed. My 
attention was first attracted by the capital distribution of 
parts in this picture. I know not whether a connoisseur 
would style it artistic, but to me it appears grand and ju- 
dicious in its uniformity. The picture is simply imagined, 
presenting but few features, and those of noble proportions 
and combined in architectural symmetry. The figure of a 
sunt, seated in the foreground on the right, deserves es* 
pedal notice, being as finely designed in every particular 
as those in old paintings, and I have rarely seen it surpassed 
eyen in them. On the right, stands St Anthony, carrying 
the hermit's little bell ; St. Jerome, more in the background; 
on the left^ St. John, Nicodemus, and Joseph of Arimathea, 
surrounding the mother of God, who is placed in the centre 
of the picture^ and most expressively designed ; the deepest 
grief is depicted in her countenance, and a chastened tender, 
ness of feeling, a sorrow exalted and subdued by fortitude 
and self-command, is apparent even in her manner of clasp* 
ing the corpse to her bosom. It seems scarcely possible to 
give a better representation of genuine and sincere grief 
than is expressed in the countenances of the by-standers, 
nearly every one of whom exhibits either the instrument or 
some symbol of his martyrdom. A heartfelt sorrow is 


Stamped on every ooontenanoe, jet without monotonj or 
repetition. The idea of dnoeritj conyejed hj each individual 
figurey and stamped upon the picture generallj, doubtless 
renders its expression so peculiarly tranquil : it is certainly 
very plain and simple, and far from having any claim to 
loffy passion, or the more interesting charm of sentiment ; 
but this simplicity makes it appear to grow in loveliness 
each time it is revisited. Many paintings have more ab- 
stract beauty of colouring, and yet in this the peculiar hur- 
mony and propriety of the arrangement seem almost to 
indicate the sentiment revealed l^ the general structure 
of the work. It is scarcely just to institute comparisons 
between pictures, unless evidently suggested by some simi- 
larity in design, or in the necessary conditions of the sub- 
ject : otherwise we might easily point oat separate parts in 
other pictures more beautiful and effective. Still the truth 
and uprightness of character, united as it is with sincerity 
and firmness, with which the artist has here invested the 
firiends and followers of our Lord, is infinitely more appro* 
priate than the conception and treatment common in later 
times, when, in spite of the highly artistic grouping of the 
whole, we find among the aposties, if sepanitely examined, 
many forms well fitted to represent Greek philosophers and 
Boman senators, or even athletSB, but which are very far 
from embodying the idea usually conceived of the aposties 
of our Lord» 

A '<Holy Family," by Andrea del Sarto^ half-length 
(No. 7.), deserves notice for its vigorous execution, the 
beautiful head of the old man, and charming, smiling gaiety 
of the boy. Among the followers of Raphsiel, Andrea alone 
approximates to his master in that beautiful delineation of 
children for which Raphael was so superlatively admirable ; 
yet^ even in his compositions, the difference between the 
master and the scholar is clearly perceptible. A picture 
resembling this is also to be seen at DCksseldorf, but not 
equally well painted, and with slight incidental differences. 

Among the paintings of the late Italian school, one, by 
2iiichelangelo da Caravaggio^ deserves especial attention. 
It represents a grand master of the knights of Malta*, with 
a noble boy beside him, and is favourably distinguished 
among the pictures of the later Italian school by its vigorous, 

* Adolphe dc Vignaeourt, created Grand Matter in 1601. 

80 PAiMTnfGS m pabis, 1802-1804. [letter iil 

firm, objective realily, almost, as it were, starting from the 
canvas ; bj the splendid knightlj costmne, and gold-gleaming 
coat of mail. It is true that those who have had an oppor- 
tunity of studying portraits of the old Grerman school may 
have seen many paintings more beautifully handled in these 
particulars ; still it forms a fine exception to the ordinary 
class of Italian portraits of that period. 

The <' Judith" with the head of Holofemes, by Cris- 
toforo AUori*, has much merit, both in the expression and 
outline of the figure, although the languid softness of colour- 
ing, and an overstrained imitation of nature, give it too 
decided a resemblance to the modem Italian schools. Our 
attention is immediately caught by the beauty and splendid 
attire of the Hebrew heroine, as well as by the expression of 
simple piety and wonder in the head of the old woman, and 
the external correctness of the representation. The rich, 
rosy mouth of the heroine, her dark, gleaming eyes, half 
veiled in serious thought, the brown tresses shadowing her 
lofty brow, and delicate yet noble features ; her tall, slender 
form, its outline gracefully veiled by the heavy drapery ; the 
perfect freedom in the arrangement of the drapery, and the 
ease of the whole figure, and of her manner of carrying the 
severed head and the great sword, of the weight of which 
she appears but that moment to have become conscious ; her 
countenance, expressing not thoughtful seriousness alone, 
but rather an indwelling sadness, a silent, overpowering 
weariness ; — ^the combination of all those characteristics finely 
reveal the melancholy enthusiasm, the pride, faith, courage 
and resignation which prompted this wondrous woman to 
believe herself summoned by her God to perform the action 
recorded of her. It is generally said that the artist has 
given his own portrait in the head of Holofernes, and his 
mistress in the Judith. 

The "Martyrdom of St Agatha "f (No. 60.), a half- 
length, by Sebastian del Piombo, is completely in the antique 
taste, not from any artificial imitation of sculpture, but from 
its sentiment, and the Boman grandeur, freedom, and vigour 
with which the subject, a glorious circumstance in the 
annals of Christianity, is seized and depicted. It is one of 
the most instructive pictures I have seen, both in its general 
treatment, and the significance of the expression ; a classical 

* From the Pitti Palace. f Ibid. 


picture, if any may be allowed to deserve that name : not, 
however, from its carrying out the whole category of requi- 
sitions which theorisers in art love to insist upon in their 
books of instruction, but rather because a grand uncompro- 
mising power, a deeply-contrived clearness of design, the 
noble intelligence and excellence of classical antiquity, per- 
vade and give soul to this rare work. Tradition attributes 
to Michelangelo the design for this painting : it is said that 
he hoped, by this assistance, to raise a master of the Venetian 
school, then highly esteemed for colouring, into a rival 
of Eaphael, even in his own peculiar province of oil-painting 
and devotional subjects. It is for this reason that ordinary 
critics find nothing worthy of admiration in the picture, 
except the. wonderful foreshortening of the figures: this 
tradition appears the more worthy of belief from the circum- 
stance that anotherpictureby Sebastian del Piombo(No.939.), 
representing the Virgin and sleeping Infant, surrounded 
by angels,* is not only far inferior in design to this, but so 
very different in style, that it can scarcely be believed to be 
by the same master. It should also be observed, that the 
figures in the St. Agatha are much less exaggerated than 
in the little oil-painting by the same master, and rather 
resemble the latest manner of Raphael, at which period he 
appears to have imitated Michelangelo, both in the style of 
his easel-pictures, and also in his designs for tapestry. How, 
our readers will perhaps ask, can a subject so horrible form 
a beautiful painting ? Indeed, I have seen many spectators 
turn shuddering away after the first glance, and blame the 
artist for his selection of such a subject, and yet the very 
same persons have perhaps stood long in pleased astonish- 
ment before the •* Martyrdom of St Agnes," by Domenichino 
(No. 765.), or have gazed on the '* Massacre of the Innocents," 
by Guido (No. 819.), without turning from the confused heaps 
of dead bodies and infants writhing in mortal agony ; without 
being horrified by the streaming blood and agonised counten- 
ances therein depicted. Nothing of this description is visible 
in the picture of St Agatha. , No blood, no heart-rending 
agony, no wounds ; for as yet the threatening instruments 
of torture have not touched the body of the saint ; we do 
not here see that expression of fiend-like, revolting malice, 
which usually distinguishes paintings of this kind : every- 

82 PAINTI1I08 m TASJB, 180^1804. [lbttkb m. 

thing loathsome or disgusling being kept as completely out 
of sight as is possible in the representation of a martyrdom. 
It seems therefore probable that the horror it inspires, 
prompting every one, after the first glance, to shrink and 
tarn away, is produced by the stem, soul-freezing reality of 
the representation. The artist has chosen for his picture 
the moment immediately preceding the application of the 
torture. Already the migestic form of the noble woman is 
uncovered, the glowing irons approach her bosom, and the 
horrible idea of anticipated suffering thus engendered cannot 
be otherwise than painful to excess: still there are com- 
paratively few who will find its agony insupportable ; those 
alone who, overpowered by the exhibition of suffering, over- 
look the lofty god-like character of the design ; who derive 
no pleasure from the majestic beauty of the figures, or the 
fine arrangement of the whole. 

The structure of the composition is very simple : the 
figures are the size of life, but the dimensions of the {MCture 
so small, that the grouping is necessarily confined. The 
saint stands in the centre, completely in the foreground ; she 
is naked to the waist ; her mantle, lying at her feet, and 
her under robe wound tightly roand the hips and gathered to- 
gether in a knot in front. She leans against a column, which 
her extended arms encircle, and to which they appear to be 
firmly bound, but they are partially concealed by the heads 
of the executionei^s who stand on each side of the martyr, 
and also by a dark green curtain suspended from above. 
The painful delineation of actual violence is much softened 
down throughout. The tyrant stands opposite to her on the 
right ; a table is introduced into the foreground; on that side 
one of his arms, wonderfully foreshortened, rests upon it. 
Behind him stands an attendant, whose expressive eyes are 
cast down, as if in sorrow. On the other side, quite in the 
foreground, before the executioner on the right, a great 
knife is lying on a grey pedestal ; he grasps the irons with 
both hands. On the right of the column which divides the 
background, we discover a crowd of persons, a tire, and a 
group of small figares apparently occupied in preparing the 
instruments of toiture. The background opens on the left 
side, and a tranquil landscape with calm waters in the glow- 
ing distance, is seen below the dark green curtain already 


mentioned. In froztt of this landscape, near to the attendant 
who stands with downcast ejes, two Roman soldiers with 
bright unclosed helmets are seen — eympathising spectators 
^of the fearful scene. 

The form of the saint is of heroic maidenlj beauty, and 
vigorous proportions. There are no rose and lilj tints in 
the carnations, but the pure, firm form glows with all the 
colouring of unaltered health. The countenance expresses 
no superhuman spirituality, but rather the heroism and 
strength of human virtue ; her dark eyes gleam with all the 
ardent feeling of an impassioned woman, but have also an 
expression of fortitude and magnanimity, and the conscious 
thrill of inborn heroism. The careless faU of her dark tresses 
leaves the brow and beautiful firm throat completely bare, but 
while thus silently and unhesitatingly yielding up her body 
to the martyr's doom, her head is turned towards the tyrant 
with a majestic action, full of unquailing courage ; we feel 
that she is speaking, that she gives utterance to that bitter 
reproach, ** You — bom of a woman's body, and nourished at 
her breast, — do you not shame to give a woman's body to the 
hand of the executioner?'' An ashy paleness alone reveals 
the insuperable terror of mortality at the horrible doom 
approaching ; for her lofty countenance and gleaming eyes 
bespeak more indignation and contempt for her miserable 
tyrant than concern for her own sufferings. Li the midst of 
torture she yet triumphs over him, who stands gazing on her 
as if he sought to arm hi? soul, by the very spectacle of the 
martyrdom, against doubt and irresolution. The singular 
constraint of his attitude and the almost unnatural manner 
in which he rests his elbows on the table before him, heighten 
the expression of internal disquietude in his physiognomy ; 
he seems to harden himself in his once decided purpose, as 
if the stubborn cruelty were struggling with and subduing 
a better impulse. 

His head especially is of noble form, and very vigorous 
execution. The two executioners who with their burning 
irons menace the bosom of the Saint, are, in their peculiar 
style, even more powerful. They are the fitting instruments 
of such a crime ; vulgar, hideous, and totally devoid of feel- 
ing; solicitous merely to perform the task they have in 
hand, and regarding it as part of their ordinary trade ; still 

o 9 

84 PAINT1KG8 IN PARIS, 1802-1804. [letteb m. 

the extraordinary power displayed in the delineation of 
these countenances, and the reality of the execution, softens 
without weakening the impression they impart, carrying the 
spectator's mind so irresistibly to the character and S>rm, 
that the feeling which must otherwise be unavoidably excited 
is thrown into the background. 

Perhaps nothing in the whole picture is more worthy 
of notice, or more grandly conceived, than the two soldiers, 
armed, but with helmets raised, who stand behind the tyrant 
and look at the proceeding in perfect sympathy with the 
sufferer. Their countenances, though calm, express the 
most heartfelt sorrow ; no wild rage against the tyrant is in 
their looks, nor does pity prompt them to make vain efforts at 
resistance which must be utterly useless and impracticable. 
Mute spectators of what they neither can nor dare attempt to 
alter, they gaze only on the saint, think of her alone, watch 
her movements, hang upon her words, and seem by their 
entire and lofty sympathy like a strain of attendant music to 
perform the part of the chorus in Greek tragedy, alleviating 
suffering and the more acute pangs of grie( by the idea <^ 
an inevitable law, and a due reliance on the eternal decrees 
of truth and justice. There is a remarkable resemblance, 
almost an exact likeness, between the two, as if they were 
designed to represent only one being, though under a double 
form ; and this circumstance is yet more stnkingly in affinity 
with the old chorus of those tragedies. They are erect in 
form, and their attitude stiff and martial ; firm, but neither 
savage nor violent ; manly and iron-like in frame and tem- 
perament, so that the perfect sympathy of two such warrior 
hearts seems even the more soothing. The distant landscape 
introduced is like a symbolic promise of future happiness to 
calm the shuddering soul. No angel, no blessed spirit hovers 
near, offering to the martyr her crown of immortal palm; 
but her steadfast soul, firm in the conviction of its inborn 
strength, hastes to eternal freedom, and to Grod. In this 
respect again the picture seems superior to other conceptions 
of similar subjects. It must however be confessed that it is 
in the antique style, and in its treatment rather Stoic than 
purely Christian, but imbued with a lofty moral devotion. 

Whence is it that martyrdom has been so absolutely 
and uncompromisingly rejected, as an unfavourable, and in- 


deed unworthy subject of representation ? The invaluable 
picture above described affords a triumphant refutation of 
that opinion, and clearly proves that it is possible from these 
materials to produce a beautiful and highly valuable picture. 
Great questions have indeed been raised, concerning the 
choice of appropriate subjects for the arts in general, and 
painting more especially, and theories founded on some im- 
perfectly understood philosophical idea have been blindly 
adopted and dogmatically enforced. A very different and far 
more successful result might have been obtained had people 
rather attempted to discover what was right by the aid of his- 
torical and traditional records. It appears highly natural that 
among the earliest subjects of representation should have been 
that which indeed no effort of imagination can ever success- 
fully achieve, and yet which inrre than once has been brought 
wonderfully near to perfectUn, — the "Holy Virgin and 
Child : " the other subjects are perhaps equally ancient, 
but although frequently treated, have even more rai'ely at- 
tained any degree of perfection ; viz., the representation of 
the thorn-crowned head of the suffering Redeemer — the 
** Ecce Homo," and the " Crucifixion." The legend of Saint 
Veronica and the holy handkerchief attests the antiquity of 
the former symbolic representation, at least as certainly as 
that of St. Luke proves the portraiture of the Madonna to 
have been of early origin.* As the Annunciation, the Holy 

* The earliest representations of the sufferings and death of Christ 
were entirely symbolical, for instead of the actual human figure of the 
Redeemer, a lamb only, fixed on a cross, served as a symbolical memento 
of the Crucifixion. The principle which led to the adoption of a sym- 
bolical lamb instead of the Redeemer in his suffering human form, was 
probably this : — the earliest Christian communities were formed chiefiy 
of Jews, who penetrated with the belief that Jesus of Nazareth was very 
God, and remembering the old Mosaic prohibition against making any 
image or semblance of the Most High, objected to a representation in 
human form, or at least feared thereby to offend the weak in conscience 
among Jewish believers. Such prejudices were at length thrown aside 
by more advanced Christians, as mere vestiges of Judaism. The transition 
from the purely symbolic Cross to the complete and real representation 
of the dying Redeemer, is first shown by the outline of our Saviour's 
face on the handkerchief of St. Veronica, the most remarkable instance of 
which may be found in the old German picture in the Boisserde Collection, 
designed according to the traditional Byzantine type. The head alone, 
thus separated from all connexion with the body, and left in miraculous 

o S 

S6 PAINTINGS IN PAKis, 1802-1804. [letter in. 

Family, the Adoration of ihe IVIagi, the Heavenlj Con- 
versatioDy all remind us more or less of the simplest and 
purest expression of divine loveliness ever imagined hj the 
spirit of inborn love : each varied conception of these sub- 
jects forms only a more adorned development^ and conveys 
to the human heart a more perfect image of this love ; and 
in the same manner, the highest possible degree of mortal 
anguish, as embodied in the Crucifixion of our Lord, mirrors 
itself afresh in each subordinate picture of suffering. But 
the art and religion, from which it can never be divided 
without utter ruin and subversion, should not represent the 
Son of Grod to the eyes of man as if free from all relation with 
mortality, in unapproachable bliss and happiness ; but rather 
also in those more circumscribed relations in which the very 
divinity breaks through, and appears in his mortal creatures. 
Painting therefore must, and ought to represent to us the 
deep pain of those glorious martyrs who, while yet within 
the circle of mortality, voluntarily retraced their steps to 
heaven, yielding their bodies sacrifices to the purest and 
most devoted love. The Madonna, and the Crucifixion, — 
these, with all their inexhaustible variety of grouping and 
treatment, form the primitive types, the two eternal poles on 
which our spiritual Ufe, no less than the pure spirit of paint- 
ing, continually revolve. Hermits and recluses, of whom in 
legendary lore we find so many beautiful histories, may ofTer 
more cheerful subjects for delineation than the real, genuine 
conception of a martyrdom. But would not the pursuit of such 

and shadowy oatline on the holy hAndkcrchief, occupies exactly the 
middle place between a simple symbol and an actual picture. Among 
the earliest paintings of the Madonna, there is certainly one, most fitly 
termed symbolic, preeenting to us the Saviour on his mother's lap, but 
as an already grown boy, a crown upon his head, and the brows of the 
Virgin also encircled by the crown of heaven ; for this design does not 
coincide with the actual condition of Christ in his lowly childhood, biit 
represents two distinct periods, historically divided, but each in itself 
artistically perfect taken together and blended into one, — the mother of 
God, as we picture her in the childhood of Christ, full oF nature and 
'humility, and Mary the crowned queen of heaven. The other sym- 
bolic representation of the Virgin, is that known by the name of the 
Immaculate Conception, in which we see her, with the moon at her feet, 
crowned with stars, and with the rays of the sun encircling her ; but it 
belongs in point of history to a later date, and will be noticed hereafter. 


subjects as are gay and pleasing alone lead to a confirmed 
mannerism, and the most narrow ideas, — not to mention that 
such bewitching grace frequentlj eludes those who strive 
most earnestly to imagine and represent it ? It is a destruc- 
tive and erroneous principle in works of art to seek only 
outward grace and sensible beauty, which may not always be 
compatible with general truth and fidelity in the treatment 
of the subject; but the painter's first and highest aim 
should be, to render justly that divine signification, without 
which no pictmre can properly be called a work of art, and 
when this is correctly given, ihe blossom and fruit of divine 
loveliness frequently starts unsought into existence. The 
sutrject of mar^^om is certainly susc^tible in the highest 
degree of this lofty yet profound signification. It wOl be 
easy for the artist, if he know how to avoid exciting disgust 
by the details, to introduce such a contrast between purity 
and loveliness on the part of the suffering saints, and savage 
repulsive cruel^ and malevolence in the persecutors, as 
throughout all its gradations and modifications will afford 
bat too true a picture of actual life, and unfold, in the doom 
of those martyrs, the fate which in this woiid too often 
awaits the lofty and pure in nature ; and in doing this he 
can scarcely fail to meet abundant opportunity of recalling 
to our minds the ineffable essence of love and beauty. 
There is certainly one distinction to be observed ; which is, 
that in actual life the martyrdom of the pious, in their con. 
fiict with the wicked, is less palpably evident, being rather 
diffused tl^ughont the entire course of existence, — but is 
this detrimental in any degree to the art ? Painting de- 
mands, aboTd every thing else, sensible intellectual life ; and 
the concentrating in one powerful focus, what in reality 
is widely scattered, ought certainly to be ihe chief and only 
point in which the art, in its treatment of isolated particu- 
lars, differs from the laws and circumstances of reality. 
M ar tyrdom, rightly treated, may undoubtedly afford most 
eflfective subjects for composition. It is certainly far more 
affecting in this art than in that of poetry, unless in the 
latter a great number of secondary circumstances be intro- 
duced, in which the fact of the martyrdom must become the 
point of interest and the crowning dunax. To describe this 
alone would be to weary one's-self in vain, and prove after all 

Q 4 


cold and monotonous ; or at the best, to engage in a painful 
struggle for such actual truth of description as is scarcely 
attainable. Miraculous circumstances, which have sometimes 
been introduced bj those who wished to give a complete repre- 
sentation of the whole legend, appear rather to be the exclu- 
sive property of the poet : he alone can properly prepare for 
their introduction, and partially explain facts, which however 
must always remain enigmatical and mysterious ; but in this 
very mystery and obscurity imagination and poetry delight 
to revel, and by its aid frequently attain the highest bril- 
liancy of expression. Miraculous occurrences however, 
which are comparatively familiar, such as the Ascension, 
and the Transfiguration may be noticed, as belonging pre- 
ferably to the sphere of painting, being less obscure, and ' 
therefore less likely to leave the mind cold and unimpressed. 
How strangely do artists of the present day appear to 
vacillate in their choice of subjects ! Sometimes having re- 
course to classical fables, to modem French, or Celti-Ossianic 
figures and subjects : or possibly to such as have no exist- 
ence at all, except in the brain of the bewildered artist, lost 
amid the mazes of false and erroneous theories. Were it 
not better to return at once to the beaten track of the old 
Italian and German masters ? We should find in it no lack 
of materials, and those persons who imagine the circle of 
designs from Christian subjects would soon be exhausted, 
are most completely mistaken. Let them but examine at- 
tentively the series of Albert Diirer*s engravings, — how rich 
a fund of new and profound ideas do these supply ! I do 
not refer exactly to the apocalyptic wood-cut^ because, 
however profound the meaning they convey, these would, 
especially to the youthful artist, prove most dangerous guides. 
Yet, what originality is there in Diirer's treatment of or- 
dinary subjects ! His varied designs of the Crucifixion are 
familiar, and require no further notice here ; so also his con- 
ceptions of the Virgin. Where, even among the greatest 
masters, can we find a Madonna superior to that of Diirer 
at Dresden, known by the name of the ^* Immaculate Con- 
ception,** in which the Blessed Virgin is represented with 
the moon beneath her feet, the crown of heaven hovering 
ns it were above her head, and her long hair flowing round 
her, like a veil, even to the hem of her garment? Where can 


jou find a picfcure so tralj and yividlj representing the Queen 
of Heaven in all her divine majesty and loveliness, and at the 
same time so perfect as a work of art, and so entirely conso- 
nant with the symbolism of ancient Christianity ? How rich, 
too, how finely imagined is his ^* Madonna in the Grarden," 
the silent solitude of which, adorned with varied and beauti- 
ful plants, with here and there some curious animals, seems 
amplified into an abstract symbol of external nature ! How 
vigorous, and at the same time incomparably true to nature, 
are his attempts to portray the Mother of God in her mor- 
tal condition, surrounded by domestic cares, — the infant 
Saviour, playing with angels in the workshop of his nominal 
eartlily father ! Where else can such pictures be found — 
and yet are they not almost necessary accompaniments of 
our belief? If the image of the star-crowned Madonna, 
with the planets at her feet, belong intrinsically to the 
sphere of Christian ideas, her picture as the personification 
of spiritual love in the very heart and centre of the bloom- 
ing garden of nature, lies surely very near to the same 
circle. Such paintings must undoubtedly be of great rarity, 
for we cannot point out one resembling either of these, in 
the collections of Dresden or Diisseldorf, Paris or Brussels, 
rich as those collections are in oil-paintings, and antique 
treasures. In the Salon of Ancient Paintings at Brussels, 
there is one very early picture of the Madonna, with the 
crown on her head and the moon beneath her feet, but it is 
far from giving all the signification of which so lofty an 
idea is susceptible. Were there any painters of merit now 
to be found, who, emancipating themselves from the tram- 
mels of modem errors and innovations, had entered upon 
their course in the true spirit of ancient art, what could be 
a more worthy office for any noble and wealthy patron, than 
by a suitable and most invaluable gift to encourage the 
young artist to employ his genius on appropriate subjects, 
and with this object, to select for him some of the grandest 
and most beautiful of Diirer's unexecuted designs ? Stili, 
it must be remembered, leaving him at liberty to alter what- 
ever is unpleasing to modem taste, or appears imperfect in 
form, or not essential to the general efiect. It was pi*obably 
in this hope, and with this intention, that our great master 
bequeathed to posterity the unbroken series of his designs : 

90 PAINTINGS IN TASOB, 1802-1804. [lettsb ih. 

the otttponring of that inexhaustible activity, which jet 
could not soffice for the i^Btematic deyelopment of all his 
profound ideas. These phites ought, ther^ore, to be con- 
sidered as a collection of fragm^its of artistic thoughts, a 
store of creative art-ideas, and not merelj as studies, nor 
as copies from paintings, uncoloured, and in every respect 
most imperfect. Engravings on copper merit the highest 
approbation and esteem as previous studies or sketches, pre- 
paratory to the execution of a perfect work ; and Diirer's 
should undoubtedly be viewed in that light ; hatched hard 
upon the copper, they will never please the eye at the first 
glance, yet the outline alone is amply sufficient to realise all 
that DOrer wished to effect The engraving of the Sikkingen 
riding through the wood*, shows sufficiently the perfection 
of Diirei^s finished plates of this description. In this we 
are scarcely sensible of the absence of colour, but on the 
contrary return again and again to the study of a good im- 
pression, as we should do of a good picture ; and although 
it seems impossible for colourless outlines to attain that 
inexhaustible individuality of character and expression, 
which is the privilege and property of the all-pervading 
elements of colour alone, yet the impossible is here attempted 
and almost attained ; as many other great masters have been 
seen to carry their art to the utmost limit of its peculiar 
province, and even (feeling the jrath of return secure) ven- 
ture for a moment daringly to overstep the boundary. It is 
this which makes the example of the great luminaries of the 
art so dangerous to feeble imitators, who venture thought- 
lessly to tread a path in which they must find themselves 
unprepared. Thus Ddrer, and many great Italian masters, 
innocently contributed to the diffusion of erroneous prin- 
ciples in the new school, and to that all-destroying separa- 
tion between design and cdouring, which is no less fatal to 
the theory of the art than to its mechanical execution. 
Thus the teaching of Socrates, who first distinguished be- 
tween the beautiful and the necessary, laid tiie earliest 
foundation of inconsistency ; thus the erroneous principles 
supported by Descartes, asserting the absolute distinction of 
soul and body, and setting an awful gulf between the two^ 

• Knight, Death, and the Bevil? See Kugler, szrii. S9l The 
knight IB said to be a portrait of Franz Ton Sikkingen. •— TVufu. 


necessarilj gave birth to all the succeeding errors of philo- 
sophy ; and thas also the prevaiiiDg error of dividing painting 
as an art into the distinct branches of design and colouring, 
has become the fruitful source of aU subsequent errors and 
aberrations. Diirer especially, like so many of those old 
I^iilosophers, set a far higher value on truth than on per- 
sonal fame ; and feeling it impossible to bring to perfection 
the entire abundance of his ideas, confidingly bequeathed 
the designs alone to the world at large. During a short 
period, some, among his contemporaries and followers em- 
ployed them sometimes even without acknowledgment, till 
there arose at last a feeble generation, incapable of com- 
pleting or even of comprehending his ideas : ere long, they 
ceased to be esteemed, and in process of time were entirely 
forgotten. When after contemplating this splendid collec- 
tion of Durer^s, I torn to all the throng of sketches and 
copper-plate designs among which we now live, he appears 
to me like the originator of a new and splendid system of 
thought, burning with the zeal of a first pure inspiration, 
ec^r to difiuse his deeply conceived, and probably true and 
noble views ; and all tixe heap of frivolous sophists and 
sweet explainers succeeding him seem like those would-be 
connoisseurs, whose prattle is now to be heard in all markets 
both among the amateurs of art, and in every-day life. 

In examining the collection of Durer's copper-plates 
in the Cabinet de Dessins at F&ris, I was particularly struds: 
by the excellence of the expression, but disappointed that 
my anxious inquiries after any oil-painting by that great 
master proved fruitless. It is true that four large pictures 
of his were brought hither from Nuremberg ; yet I was in- 
formed on credible authority that, in conformity vrith a 
decree for sending various works of art to different towns 
in the departments, these pictures are already deposited at 
Bennes, in Brittany, where they will be almost inaccessible 
to German lovers of the art. 

In the palace of St Cloud again I saw pictures which 
I had already seen and admired in the Louvre : the ^ Mar- 
riage of St. Catherine and the Infant Christ,* the majestic 
portrait of Julius IL, and many others. Also a portrait of 
Charles YIIL, by Leonardo, which deserves to be numbered 
among his most remarkable works. The background, though 

92 PAINTINGS IN PARIS, 1802-1804. [lettek m. 

clear, is uniform, which is rarely the case with oil portraits, 
and in this harmonises admirably with the open, intelligent, 
and not unheroic character of the face ; the truthful reality 
of the portrait is most tangible and evident, as is usual in 
this master's pictures; it is also characterised by unusual 
distinctness. This head is both more charming and infinitely 
more expressive than the far-famed head of Francis I., of 
which I saw at Paris two different copies ; one in the collec- 
tion of Lucien Buonaparte, and one among those set apart 
for restoration in the Louvre. Not the hand of Leonardo 
himself could ennoble that strangely ugly countenance with 
its little blinking eyes. The most valuable picture to which 
I could here devote my attention, though but for one short 
hour, and without being at liberty to repeat my visit, was 
the famous ''Madonna della Sedia"* of Raphael. The en- 
chanting loveliness of this painting is universally known and 
acknowledged, and numerous copies and engravings make 
the subject of it generally familiar. The Madonna in this 
picture has not the tender loveliness of the '' Giardiniera,'' 
nor the ideality of the great Madonna at Dresden ; it holds a 
place between the two extremes, and in this point resembles 
the highly-esteemed ''Holy Family" in the Parisian Museum, 
the " Madonna di Foligno^f in Lucien Buonaparte's collec- 
tion, and the " Madonna dell' Impannata"| in the palace of 
the Luxembourg. Li each of these the same invariable plan 
appears to form the groundwork of the whole; but the 
" Madonna della Sedia " is beyond comparison the most suc- 
cessful, and may serve as an example for each of the others. 
Raphael appears always equally and peculiarly happy in his 
delineation of children and the heads of old men ; in some 
instances, also, his female heads display the highest artistic 
beauty, both ideal and individual ; yet in these we more fre- 
quently recognise a noble, earnest struggle to attain some 
peculiar ideal conception of beauty than the very beauty 
itself. The artist has attempted to express the Divinity in 
the Infant Christ by imparting to the figure an almost super- 
human strength and vigour. Yet it wants that peculiar 
majesty of look and expression distinguishing the Saviour 
in the picture at Dresden : in the latter the child looks seri- 

• Pitti Palace. f In the Vatican. J Pitti Palace. 


Otis, grand, and noble, but his attitude, plajing with his feet, 
is, with' intention, careless and childlike. The weaving of 
the colours in this picture, if I maj be permitted to employ 
that expression, appeared to me very remarkable. I fancied, 
also, that in the treatment of the colours I was able clearly 
to trace the varied modifications of this master's manner. 
In some pictures a decided preference for heavy masses of 
distinct, vigorous browns, reds, or whites is obvious, resem- 
bling the grand principles of harmony in which Dante drew 
the light, illuminated, and dazzling portion of his immortal 
poem. Some of Raphael's other pictures, as, for example, 
the ^ Madonna" in the Lucien collection, and the *' Giardi- 
niera," are of glowing radiance and purity, the carnations 
iRronderfulIv delicate and lovely. Others again, as the '^ Saint 
John " at Dufiseldorf (as far as the changes produced in it by 
time enable us to judge, and if, besides, it be justly attributed 
to Raphael), the " St. Michael " at Paris, the " Transfigura- 
tion,'' and many others, are remarkable from the strong 
shadows, the chiaroscuro, and blending and contrast of bright 
and sombre tints, with smaller masses of less vivid hues, 
among which blue holds a conspicuous place, and appears to 
indicate the first predominant use of that colour in the later 
Italian schools. The dear brown tint in the unfinished pic- 
ture at Brussels would not have been entirely subdued in the 
finishing ; but in the " Madonna della Sedia " a completely 
difierent manner, which I should rather term many-coloured, 
or variegatedy prevails. A predilection for green, red, and 
other vivid colours is predominant in this picture also, not, 
however, in broad masses, but, on the contrary, more like 
the design of a costly carpet, the gayest and brightest hues 
being interwoven in a highly artistic manner, and forming 
fine and elegant undulations, delicate circles and flowers, so 
that each idea teems with the richest luxuriance, and is 
depicted in genuine pomp and splendour. Whoever, after 
seeing the ''Madonna della Sedia" and the '' Giardinicra," 
can stlU afiirm or believe Raphael to have been an unskilful 
colourist, must have eyes and senses not of the most suscep- 
tible order. It must be remembered that the preceding 
general observations on Raphael are not intended to apply 
to bis fresco paintings at Rome, but to his easel-pictures 
alone, the beat and most valuable of which I have had oppor- 

94 PADiniros m pabib, 1802-1804. [letter ni. 

tuxiities of atudying. The ^ Madonna della Sedia " resembles 
the earliest representations of the Virgin^ especiaUj in regard 
to the simpUdfy of the subject, representing the mother of 
Giod only with the holj child on her left arm, her head gently 
incUning towards him, with little ornament, and few acces- 
sary details, except the adoring figure of the youthful 
St John ; and it is an interesting fact, that the most lovely 
of later flowers of art» and of all its highly-adorned and orna- 
mented compositions, should so closely resemble the formal 
simplicity and beauty of its earliest commencement. This 
picture iJso approaches the pure loveliness of the " Giardi- 
niera," and, like it, appears to stand on the verge between the 
two grand epochs of Baphael's artistic history, exemplifying 
both the fervent love and devotion of his youthful manner, 
together with the lofty development and rich maturity of his 
prime, before his later imitations of that dazzling meteor, 
JCchekngelo^ led him away from the path of love and 

The wondrous picture of ^^ St Cecilia^* also unites the 
peculiar beauties of each different manner, which in it are 
woven into a full chord of the most delicious inspiration. 
The '' St. Cecilia " may be compared with the ^' Madonna della 
Sedia" in its rich colouring and gorgeous drapery : this, and 
the extremely careful finishing, are undoubtedly the reasons 
why the excellent and meritorious old copy of this picture at 
Dresden falls so far short of the original in expression, even 
more so than is usually the case with good copies. The chief 
motive \ of the ''St Cecilia" is a ravishing sentiment of 

* In the Gallery of Bologna. 

f The word motitfe, familiar as it is with technical phraseology of 
other languages, is not yet generally adopted in our own, and hence some 
apology may be necessary for employing it as aboye. It may often be 
rendered iii<«N<aaii, but has a inller meaning. In its ordinary appellation, 
and as generally used by the author^, it means the principle of action, 
attitude, and composition in a single figure or group ; thus it has been 
observed, that in some antique gems which are deficient in execution, the 
motivet are frequently fine. Such qualities, in this case, may have been 
the result of the artist's feeling, but in servile copies, like those of the 
Bysantine artists, the moHvft could only belong to the original inventor. 

> Kiigler. 

LETTEB hl] Raphael's st. cjscilia. 95 

intenae^ inward deTotion, which, inc^able of being restrained 
within the narrow limits of a human heart, brei^s forth in 
song, ahnost in the same manner as in that great supplicatory 
picture bj Perugino, where we see everj thing melting awaj 
in a devout inspiration. In Perugino's picture^ also^ we find 
an expression of silent devotion, like the long-drawn solemn 
tones of an old cathedral chaunt ; in Raphael the tendency to 
music is still more decided, and the whole mysterious depth 
and wondrous richness of that magic art is successfully un- 
folded. The figpire of St. Paul, with the mighty sword on 
his left side, reminds us, by its rapt and meditative expres- 
sion, of the power of those old melodies at whose sound rocks 
melted, and savage beasts were tamed, and which could pene- 
trate the human mind, tearing asunder, as it were, soul and 
spirit ; the harmonious grandeur of the Magdalene opposite 
to him, whose perfect beauty resembles in some features the 
Madonna at Dresden, reminds us of the pure unisons re- 
sounding in the abode of blessed spirits, and to which the 
magic tones of earthly music breathe a feebler response, yet 
still undoubtedly reply. The Soul of St. Cecilia, who stands 
in the midst singing praises, seems as if soaring upwards on 
a ray of dazzling brightness to meet the glorious harmony 
descending, as in a flood of light, from heaven. The two 
other figures *, which occupy the space between the three 
already named, appear as if combining to form the whole 
into a foil unbroken chorus. The childlike ring of little 
angels hovering in the clouds above her head seems to be 
a divine reverberation and echo of the mingling harmony. 
The transparent foreground, the scattered instruments of 
music, indicate a vast and wonderfully varied world of 
harmony and sound, on the basis of wMch the holy hymn 
reposes, and from which it ascends like a structure of lofty 

Ic its more extended signification, the tenn comprehends invention gene- 
rally, as distinguished from execution. Another very different and less 
general sense in which this expression is also used, must not be con^ 
founded with the foregoing, thus a motive is sometimes understood in the 
sense of a Buggettiom, It is said, for example, that Poussin found the 
moii9€9 of bis landscape compositions at Tivoli. In this case we have a 
suggestion improved and carried out ; in the copies of the Byzantine 
artists we have intenHont^ not their own, blindly transmitted. — JFVom 
efts tnaulatitm of KugW$ Handbook of Painttng in Italy, b. L p. SI. 
* St. John and St Augustine. 

96 rAsrriNGS in pabis, 1802-1804. [letter m. 

artistic beauty. The picture is fraught with a soul-felt ex- 
pression of music and inspiration, and the execution in the 
highest degree solid and effective. 

But although the very subject of this wonderfully mag- 
nificent picture appears to lead to a musical treatment 
and expression, there reigns in it throughout, not merely the 
floating charm, the soul-fraught inspiration which charac- 
terises painters of musical feeling, but also a tendency to 
develope, in the clearest and fullest majesty, that lofty, poetic 
imagination which exalts these first among painters and poets 
in soul, so far above all who are simple painters and no 
more. It is the enthusiasm which flashes at once through 
both intellect and imagination, of lofty flight indeed, dw€& 
ing amid the glancing stars, and crowned with never-dying 
laurel. It is poetry, as depicted by Raphael himself in the 
^' Camera della Segnatura,** — the very breathing of divinity, 
and yet nearly allied to all the natural forms around; to 
science, or philosophy, with her starry mantle, the variegated 
robe full of figures of animals, and the rich abundance of 
living symbols ; as well as to theology, or the knowledge of 
things divine, and the true proportions of the balance of 
clearsighted justice. Yet neither the breath of Parnassus 
alone, nor a heathen muse, nor a poetic fancy sportively 
touching the painting, formed the source whence Raphael 
drew the poetry of his pictures. No ! the light of truth was 
poured into his heart, and all the blessed mysteries of heaven 
were revealed to his enraptured gaze, that he might thus 
represent them in glorious forms and hues, for the aggran- 
disement of the church, and of our most holy faith. This 
poetic painting, this wondrous flow of feeling, although at 
the same time in severe systematic arrangement, stands most 
proudly forth in that crown of all his works, the "Theology,*** 
embracing the whole of heaven, and giving the first true 
indications of the high destination of Raphael himself, and of 
Catholic art in general, which it was his proud mission to 
complete and to raise, even to the highest degree of perfec- 
tion. Therefore on him was bestowed the richest abundance 
of gifts and endowments ; every thing combined in favour of 
the fortunate artist, who, even in his youth, soon surpassed 
the most experienced masters. He not only learned to blend 

* £rroneou4y called La disputa del Sacramento. 


the devout genius of the earlier schools of an Angelico or a 
Perugino with the glow of art and the highest perfection of 
design^ but if ever painter could justly claim to he called not 
only inspired, but even divinely enlightened, that painter 
was Raphael. And what, we may well ask, would this gifted 
mortal have failed to accomplish, who in so short a life per- 
formed such wondrous works ? to what an unheard-of degree 
of perfection would be not have raised his art had nature 
extended his term of life to a grey old age, like so many of 
the connoisseurs and masters of his time ! Yet as we reflect 
on the melancholy history of his early death, we find an in- 
ward consolation, and gratitude mingles with our grief at the 
mournful tale of his interrupted course. It was because he 
neglected to keep alive the sacred fire in its vase of (Crystal, 
and lest he should in any degree injure or destroy the deli- ' 
cate limits of heavenly beauty in the art itself, that the crystal 
vase was broken, the thread of his life was severed, and the 
flower of Christian art, which it had been his mission to un- 
fold, remained as he left it — leafless and imperfect in the 
hour of its most glorious promise. 

A collection of paintings, the property of the senate of 
France, is at present open in the palace of the Luxembourg.* 
Besides many other modem works, one apartment is almost 
entirely filled with the compositions of Rubens ; chiefly alle- 
gorical designs of the life of Maria de Medici.t 

These pictures are, perhaps, preferable to many others by 
the same master in the Louvre — at least as regards the 
struggle for uncommon ideas — but they are in very bad 
preservation, and whoever desires to study the history of the 
art, with all its errors and aberrations, must trust alone to 
the gallery^ at Diisseldorf for obtaining just ideas of this 
master. A series of small pictures by Le Sueur, representing 
the Life of St. Bruno, gives a favourable idea of that artist, and 
of the manner in which he raised himself above his contem- 
poraries of the French school. He has none of the perplex- 
ing ostentation of Le Brun §, nor the pedantic erudition of 

* This gallery is now appropriated to the works of living artists pur- 
chased by gorerament. 

f Since remoyed to the Louvre, Nos. 549. to 569. 
1 Removed in 1806 to Munich. 

§ A proof of the high excellence which a mannered artist may some* 


98 PAINTINGS IN PABis, 1802-1804. [letteb hl 

Ponssin, but on the contrary has a feeling for colour at the 
least, and in general some degree of soul-felt expression. 
All his compositions, however, follow the peculiar g^us of 
the French school, which, when it adqpts a more tranquil 
and subdued manner, in opposition to the theatrical and 
highly exaggerated style usually predominating, becomes 
feeble in outline and in colouring. We cannot refuse sym- 
pathy to the love^esenring genius of one, who in the midst 
of excessive frivolity, in con^lete ignoranoe o^ and far re- 
moved from all true principles of the art, gained even a mere 
superficial exterior, and actually lost himself in his ardent 
desire to attain a higher object. Yet there is little artistic 
pleasure to be derived from these pictures, but rather a 
humah sympathy, such as is sometimes aroused by the verse 
of Racine, between whose works and those of Le Sueur I 
trace a strong family resemblance. Nothing further can be 
said of these pictures. 

There are in this collection only two old Italian pictures : 
A Danae, by Titian, but hung so high, and in so bad a light, 
that it is impossible to describe it ; and the " Madonna deU' 
Impannata "* of BaphaeL The most striking feature in the 
latter is the over-exaggerated old age of Saint £2Lizabeth : 
she is probably a portrait, for I find the same face repeated 
in the Holy Family at Diisseldorf. The Virgin's figure is 
designed on the same type as the " Madonna di Fodigno,'' 
and the Mother of Grod in the Holy Family in the Louvre. 
There is unquestionably much that is deserving of notice in 

times attain in a single work, if he is endowed by nature with great 
talents, and induced by any circumstance to abandon his usual manner, may 
be found in a large jiunily picture by Le Brun, of the Jabach family, well 
known in the history of art', and which I saw at Cologne in 1818, in the 
possession of Mr. Van Groote. Probably the French artist in this 
picture aimed at following the simple narrow style, truth, and reality of 
the best artists of the Netherlands, or he may have been led into that 
manner by his subject. Every one must be surprised at the talent with 
which he accomplishes this, and how in this painting he has made the 
German reality of manner his own, as if it were but another style equally 
fiimiliar to him ; so that his former bias to the modem-antique, instead of 
being disadvantageous, is called into the service, and thus combined with 
the simple truth of the Flemish manner produces new and peculiar 

• Pitti Palace. 

' See Guide des Amateurs, Ecoles Italiennes. Pre&ce. 


this picture, and it holds a remarkable position in the series 
of Raphael's Madonnas. Considering the present violent 
and continued disallocation of works of art, it would, 
perhaps, afford gratification to amateurs to learn whither 
thej have been removed, and where they are now to be 
found. In this review of old Italian pictures, I have thought 
it expedient to give but a short description of those which 
are of less importance in illustrating my peculiar opinions, 
or which have been already conmiented on in other works. 

A great number of old French memorials, fragments 
torn &om ruined churches and monasteries, mutilated and 
in many instances more than half destroyed, have been care- 
fully collected, and are now exhibited, in chronological order, 
in the ancient monastery of Les Petits Augustins. M. Alex- 
ander Lenoir has compiled a very full and excellent catalogue 
of this collection, which possesses at least one useful property, 
showings in the clearest and most remarkable manner, what 
the imitative arts, and especially sculpture, ought not to be. 
It would be difficult to believe, without the direct evidence 
of the senses, that human fancy could wander so widely 
astray, as many of the old French sculptors have done, pre- 
senting us with exact images of dead bodies, stretched naked 
upon their biers, or clothed in the modem fashion, and sur- 
rounded by crowds of kneeling ladies and gentlemen. Many 
ancient monuments of the early kings of France, which have 
been torn from their places in the old Gothic churches, 
deserve a strict examination, as illustrating the history of 
Christian architecture in the Middle Ages. A very few old 
paintings in this collection also deserve notice. The most 
ancient, perhaps, is a Russian Madonna, apparently of the 
earliest date. It was customary among the Greek Christians 
for the priests themselves to practise the art of painting, and 
it does not, therefore, appear extraordinary that the Musco- 
vite Christians should have learned the same style of treat- 
ment.* We find, also, in the collection of antiquities in the 
National Library three small companion pictures, represent- 
ing God the Father, and a few attendant figures, evidently 

* The nnifbnnity of style observable in Greek church painting is still 
further accounted for by a MS. recently translated into French, and pub- 
lished by M. Didron. It is entitled **• Iconographic Chrltienne.**— 

U 2 


in the Greek taste, and belonging to the earliest period of 
Christian art, but in execution undoubtedly Russian. A 
Madonna, No. 8. sect. L of the Catalogue of old French pic- 
tures, is nearly as large as life, and although it has been very 
much injured, we cannot fail to recognise the foreign national 
figure and portraiture, especially in the Infant Christ. It is 
even more remarkable, that in the countenance of the Ma- 
donna we recognise the same type as was adopted by so many 
distant nations in the earliest epoch of Christianity. The 
same perfectly oval countenance and regular features, the 
small mouth, lofty brow, the head inclining gently to the 
left shoulder, and the eyes turned fondly on the child. A 
star is painted on the bosom, and on the drapery encircling 
the head, probably in allusion to the appellation of " morning 
star," " ocean star,*' frequently given to the Virgin in old 
ecclesiastical hymns. This symbol frequently occurs in old 
pictures of the Virgin. I have remarked it in several of un- 
doubted antiquity, which were brought to Paris from the 
church of San Luigi in Rome, among which are some remark- 
able antique treasures, although the greater number are but 
indifferent ; they were placed when I saw them in the Salon 
at the Louvre for restoration. 

In the same collection (Musee des Monumens Fran9ais), 
there are also various old paintings on glass, important from 
their antiquity as well as from their intrinsic value. Among 
the most beautiful of these is a St. Veronica carrjring the holy 
handkerchief, with which she wiped our Saviour's face at the 
bearing of the cross, and the '* Annunciation " (Nos. 16 and 
18. Sect. 298.) ; both of early date and style ; and both, par- 
ticularly the Annunciation, worthy of being compared with the 
most beautiful and highly finished oil-paintings. The colour- 
ing is remarkably pleasing, and well managed ; the centre 
bright and clear, encompassed by grand masses of blue and 
red, the dazzling brilliance of which throws out the centre 
part most beautifully. I was, however, even more delighted 
with the colouring of a large " Ecce Homo," by Diirer. This 
subject, and others connected with it, has been so frequently 
treated by Diirer, both in paintings and in wood-cuts, 
that any description appears superfluous ; the suffering Re- 
deemer is of perfect, exquisite beauty ; the murderers, war- 
riors in caricature, replete with wickedness and ferocity, but 


Still caricatures of profound and original signification. The 
conception of the subject, as here treated, is far from being one 
of the worst among Diii'er's many designs of the same event. 
Bat the all-surpassing effect produced results chiefly from that 
burning, intense depth of colouring, which can be obtained 
only in glass painting. The startling dissonances introduced 
into the music of our finest masters often indicate an inten- 
sity of suffering amounting almost to despair; and on the same 
principle, the strongly contrasted colours employed in glass 
painting seem to have a most powerful effect, revealing a 
whole history of anguish, and impressing it with added force 
upon the eye and heart of the spectator. It must of course 
be presupposed that the size of the picture and its situatioa 
are analogous to that of oil-paintings in general. Where, 
as in the choir of old Gothic cathedrids, the narrow windows 
rise to an elevation scarcely attainable by the eye, it would 
be impossible to execute any work in the style of an oil- 
painting. Painting on glass must then become merely a 
tissue of variegated crystals, a transparent mosaic of gems, 
arranged in distinct masses, vividly contrasting with each 
other, so that the light of heaven may enter like a dazzling 
flame, through this varied pomp of earthly hues. In this 
manner the whole may be worked in broad masses, each 
separate portion being divided from the others only at inter- 
vals and by certain determined lights. The finest specimens 
of glass-painting that I have ever seen are in the beautiful, 
though still unfinished, church of St. Gudule, at Brussels : 
there are many also at Cologne, but they do not abound at 
Paris. The church of Notre Dame, the only building in 
that city which can be called a really fine architectural work, 
is meanly situated, and the interior is much defaced by the 
modem finishing of the columns, which required restoration 
in consequence of the injuries they sustained during the 
Beign of Terror. It contains no fine specimens of coloured 
glass. In the upper window of St Sulpice, a few better 
examples are to be found. I was particularly struck with a 
figure of St. Denis carrying in his hand a chalice, with the 
host, surmounted by the nimbus. 

Painting on glass is undoubtedly a distinct branch of the 
art. To make the difference of the motive represented, a 
ground for the division of painting into distinct and separate 

H 3 

102 PAINTINGS IN PARIS, 1802-1804. [letter HL 

branches, ie acting on a completelj false principle and 
erroneous basis ; since, whatever the material, it is still the 
same imitative and representative art^ and onlj directly 
affected by the nature of the material employed. In a per- 
fect and truly artistic representation, the various subjects 
are only the means collectively employed for a certain end ; 
the signs or symbols indicating it. But the aim and object 
of the whole combination is a lofty and expressive significa* 
tion, lying concealed, and yet shadowed forth by each token 
or symbol, and which might justly be called the spiritual 
motive. * Thus I have already shown that portrait-painting, 
landscape, caricature, and still-life are grandly and intelligibly 
employed only in what are styled historical, but which should 
rather be termed symbolic, compositions, because, being the 
only reaDy perfect kind of picture, it does not deprive each 
accessory branch of its peculiar signification, but rather, 
restoring all to their true position and importance, the mean- 
ing and intention come into perfeet operation ; and thus for 
the first time they arrive at that position which indeed they 
ever ought to hold. I have shown that these branches of 
painting, as they are called, though occasionally separated 
in the studio of the artist, who may be sometimes compelled 
to make studies of separate parts, to be reunited in his per- 
fect compositions, are, singly, nothing more than parts, or 
members, and even these may easily be subdivided into stiU 
more superfluous distinctions; as, for example — battle-pieces, 
miniatures, genre, te. &c. Reasons for the division of the 
representative and imitative art into various branches, rise 
most naturally from the different capabilities of the materials 
and bodily substance employed. But the place for which the 
picture is destined, is a point of the highest importance, and 
affords a far surer ground for division than the diversity of 
subject. Every good picture should be designed for some par- 
ticular spot, and most of the old paintings were thus appro- 
priately conceived. Some for altar-pieces, others to adorn 
the entrance to the choir, others for the refectory or cells of 
a monastery. It is easy, in the works of the really good 
masters, to trace their destination ; thus, for example, a pic- 
ture intended for the high altar is easily distinguished from 
those for the little side altars ; not by the size alone, but 

• See note, «n/^, p. 94. 


rather by its subject and general treatment : and again, the 
grand centre-piece, and the wing-pictares, are distinctly dif- 
ferent; and finaUj, the paintings on the inner and outer 
panels of these wings. There is, indeed, no image, even in 
nature, which can be universally appropriate, and every 
work of the imitative art ought also to be confined to some 
peculiar destination ; otherwise these compositions, even if 
rising to the lofty freedom of poetry, will be found utterly 
empty and ineffective. Still a distinction founded on the 
diversity of materials employed is more solid ; for as the 
wondrous decorations of Gt>thic architecture can be executed 
only in delicate sandstone, while Greek sculpture demands 
the fine transparent marble, and granite or basalt are most 
suitable for the gigantic proportions of Egyptian art ; so 
the different materials used in painting can alone produce 
different branches^ as oil-painting, glass-painting and fresco- 
painting ; because the artist, while studying to avoid every- 
thing unfavourable in each of these various materials, and to 
avail himself of every advantage they may present, is un- 
avoidably compelled to treat the same subject in a very dif- 
ferent manner. 

From this little digression we return to our enumeratioo 
of remarkable pictures, first noticing those winch I omitted 
in the previous letters. I neglected, in my account of Lucien 
Buonaparte's collection, now removed to Rome, to mention a 
very remarkable Entombment by Giorgione. Though but a 
small picture, it has great merit. Thedari^ green foreground, 
of thickly interwoven herbs and plants, is beautifully true to 
nature ; the portrait-like character of the heads, the ease 
and freedom of the attitudes, and the costumes, generally in 
the Venetian taste of that period, with here and there some 
fanciful varieties ; — all this reminds us of the schools of the 
Netherlands, but in their oldest and grandest style : the ex- 
pression is noble^ free, and manly: it is one of the most 
thoroughly Venetian pictures I have ever seen. 

In the Restoring Room at the Louvre, I found a num- 
ber of famous and beautiful paintings, but can devote my 
attention only to a few of the most important ; and, indeed, 
several of the most charming of these were so hastily re- 
moved that I had no opportunity of studying them as I 
wished, particularly a very excellent St. Catherine crowned 

H 4 

104 PAINTINGS IN PARIS, 1802-1804* [letter m. 

with lilies, bj Leonardo, and a series of heads of the apostles 
brought from the church of San Luigi, at Borne. The latter 
are small, on a gold ground, through which the rosj flesh 
tints appear, and they altogether remind me strongly of the 
earliest period of Christian painting, and the predominance 
of the Byzantine style. A reminiscence of that simple child- 
like period of the art which always brings so much that is 
charming and instructive to the mind of the thoughtful spec- 
tator, and at the same time breathes a soothing tranquil- 
lity of feeling. The three Fates, attributed to Michelangelo, 
may be cited as examples of a completely opposite style and 
the degeneracy of modem art ; an excessive vigour of design 
and conception being expended in producing the represent- 
ation of ugliness the most fearful and revolting, and without, 
as it appears, any higher ultimate intention. 

A large painting of Titian's, the "Antiope," will, by 
those who set his highest excellence in the loveUest carna- 
tions and the delineation of naked forms, be considered as 
at least one of the finest pictures by that master to be seen 
at Paris. The broad, clear, joyous landscape, the figures 
near, and their occupation ; — dogs, horses, and huntsmen ; 
and one shepherd, drinking from the stream, introduced, it 
is said, as symbolic of desire : this is in all respects one of 
the finest of Titian's paintings, with the single exception, 
perhaps, of the figure of Jupiter, who, represented under the 
form of a satyr, seems almost too entirely faunish. Still 
these details are but casually noticed, so completely is the 
eye riveted on the slumbering beauty who reposes in the 
foreground. The slightly shadowing drapery partially re- 
veals all those charms which it is designed to hide. Nothing 
can be conceived more delicate, and at the same time more 
full of life, than the outline of the naked body, the finely- 
formed and rounded limbs, and the warm tints of the fine, 
soft skin, surpassed only by the rosy smiling mouth, the half- 
closed eyes, the treacherous glow upon the cheek, as she 
seems to lie before us in motionless slumber, or, perhaps, 
wrapt in some delicious dream. The right arm is placed 
under the head, which it supports, so that the whole of the 
side nearest the spectator is fully visible. Those modem 
artists who desire to imitate the antique, and even attempt 
to delineate the naked forms of sculpture, may learn a cor- 



rect treatment from that adopted by this great master in 
representing sensible charms in all their living, glowing 
fascination; in doing which, those first among painters, 
Baphael, and even Titian, are never found to overstep the 
boundaries of beauty and propriety. Still there must always 
be a strong line of demarcation between sculpture, whose 
office it is to depict the simple, and consequently unveiled 
forms of nature, and in which the naked oudine cannot pos- 
sibly offend a healthy eye, and painting, the vital principle 
of which art consists in deliciously revealing, yet at the same 
time wisely shadowing, the gifts of beauty, being endowed 
with the magic veil of colouring, not only the better to com- 
plete the illusion by imparting a life-like carnation to the 
lovely form, but also, through the eye of fancy, to kindle 
our sympathetic pulses, and exalt the general expression. 

It is remarkable that the great Italian masters, when, as 
it not unfrequently happens, they selected subjects from 
Greek mythology, and that general class of ideas, treated 
them merely as recreations in the intervals of their severer 
compositions, either in an expressive, easy manner, not rising 
to any imaginative allegory, or, as in the instance before us, 
striving only to display the highest perfection of sensual 
beauty. This is the result of a true and pure instinct, and the 
painter, in choosing that already almost exhausted sphere of 
subjects, far less adapted to his art than to that of sculpture, 
must find the Greek mythology present itself to his imagina- 
tion under that particular form. There are, it is true, some 
instances of modern art rising to a spiritual and almost 
Christian manner in the representation of mythological sub- 
jects. Giulio Romano, in his fresco paintings at Mantua, 
has treated the Overthrow of the Titans with a highly poeti- 
cal feeling. There is surprising power and vigour in his 
conception of the two contending elements, the overwhelm- 
ing floods of rising water, and the sinking of the earth, bear- 
ing down all its ruined temples and broken cliffs. In this, 
the spectacle of Titanic arrogance overthrown, while some 
of the giant beings presume proudly to defy the impending 
ruin, and thus sink sullenly to destruction, or strive to pray, 
with hands rarely clasped in supplication, leaves an almost 
Christian impression on the mind. Subjects from classical 
mythology, susceptible of the treatment here described, form 

106 PAINTINGS IN PARIS, 1802-1804. [letter m. 

extraordinary exceptions to the usual class, and are no less 
rare than such noble and artistic representations as the above- 
mentioned. It were vain to seek in mythological subjects 
the beautiful, true symbolism, the exceeding love and loveli- 
ness, the bliss, as well as sufPering, which more modern art 
possesses, and for this simple reason, that such spirituality of 
sentiment lies not within the scope of their character. Even 
Baphael's glorious imagining of the beautiful myth of Psyche 
is rather graceful than profound ; that fiction, too, belongs 
almost to antique philosophy, rather than mythology, and in 
its development affords an example of true spiritual beauty, 
almost unparalleled in Greek fable, the motive of which is 
seldom more than an overflowing abundance of animal life 
and delight in the utmost sensual grace and fascination, the 
perfect development of undisguised bodily vigour. All these 
allegorical and symbolic pictures, if seriously studied, and 
conceived with any* depth of imagination, will be found to 
refer, more or less distinctly, to the deepest pain of all earthly 
existence, or the summit of its highest bliss ; to the perfect 
delineation of unveiled forms of exquisite beauty, or to the 
fearful strife and tragic horror of heroic deeds and sufft^- 
ings ; and in the most sublime works of the ancients also we 
find the union of both elements — life and death, agony and 
bliss — placed in bold and striking contrast. 

If in these compositions we do not look below the surface, 
we shall certainly find them easy of comprehension, and de- 
void of any profound meaning ; but the lofty efforts of ancient 
art were always directed to the unfolding of the mysteries of 
nature, and the inexhaustible treasures of animated existence. 
The mythology, nay, rather the religion of antiquity, was 
throughout sensual and material, an inspired^ intoxicating 
adoration of natural life, in its inexhaustible luxuriance and 
energy, confined and restrained only by human laws^ yet 
rarely infringing the limits of an almost inconceivably ma- 
tured intelligence and propriety. The Italian painters of 
the olden time ought not to be too severely censured for 
choosing their classical subjects from Ovid's Metamorphoses, 
and other similar works, in preference to Homer; and if, 
rather than lose the delightful variety afforded by these sub- 
jects, painters of the present day venture to adopt stories of 
antique fable, like glowing episodes, among severer and loftier 


Studies, it should be remembered that such delicious repre- 
sentations, emanating from a mind absorbed in the contem- 
plation of beauty and grace in its most fascinating imaginative 
perfection, may justly claim to be regarded with peculiar in- 
dulgence and toleration. 

It frequently becomes a question, whether modem 
painters are at Hberty, considering them especially as the 
votaries of Christian art, to employ their genius on such 
representations of sensible beauty, or to interweave them 
into any of their compositions. The art of painting, although 
capable of intense spirituality of expression, is, strictly speak- 
ing, a purely imitative art, and as such devoted to the deline- 
ation of material forms ; therefore, to censure an artist for 
depicting the blooming grace of youthful attractions, or to 
require him to shun their representation on the canvas, is a 
bitter and constrained severity, which, tending to compress 
the art within too narrow limits, would infallibly cramp 
its energies, and, depriving it of free scope for exertion, injure 
it in a most important point The attainment of beauty is 
the peculiar object of the art, and by its success in this point 
it ever has been and will be judged. Still as on the one 
hand it seeks holy and devotional subjects for the adornment 
of ecclesiastical edifices, and on the other tends to the useful 
ministering to the varied luxury of our dwellings, or the 
splendour of public buildings, its peculiar province consists, 
in both, in the representation of material forms ; the charms 
and attractions of the human figure, constituting the highest 
element of sensible beauty, cannot therefore be entirely ex- 
cluded, although they should at all times be made subservient 
to the nobler impulses of devotion and spirituality. 

A painter can hardly be considered a master in his art, if he 
be incapable of drawing the naked figure, or imitating the 
glowing carnations of the fiesh; but it is essential, that besides 
making it his first and chief care in compositions of a more seri- 
ous tendency to keep the sentiment of beauty in subordination 
to spirituality of expression, the distinction already insisted 
on between painting and sculpture should be studiously pre- 
served. He should never fill his canvas with great masses 
of naked beaut}% which only confuse the eye, destroying its 
simple perception of loveliness ; for the magic grace of a 
picture consists rather in the representation of womanly. 

108 PAINTINGS IN PARIS, 1802-1804. [letter III. 

child-like, or youthful figures, modestly veiled, and revealing 
only a few timid, yet blooming charms. Little will often 
suffice to give the effect he seeks : a delicate cheek, a soft 
clasping arm, a gentle smile, captivates the soul far more 
than a more open display of charms, and in this respect the 
idea and treatment of painting differs widely from sculpture. 
The '* convenances " imposed by the art cannot, of course, 
be regulated by the laws which hold good in actual life, and 
an artist ought certainly to represent every thing belonging 
to, or required by, his subject. What mind, indeed, could be 
so perverted as to find anything objectionable in the naked 
bojiy of St. Agatha, as depicted in the Martyrdom by Sebas- 
tian del Piombo ? And this brings me to the third rule for 
the treatment of sensual beauty in painting, which, in addi- 
tion to the appropriate subordination of what is merely pleas- 
ing to the loftier objects of the art, and the distinction already 
noticed between painting and sculpture, imperatively demands 
to be observed. It will give new confirmation also to the 
opinions already set forth of the ruinous and destructive 
practice of separating into distinct and independent branches 
those single elements which, in their harmonious union, con- 
stitute a perfect composition. If, for example, an artist select 
one of these charming branches, and confine himself exclu- 
sively to the practice of it, he may produce a separate and 
pleasing genre; but his success will probably be injurious 
even to his own talent ; certainly fatal to the art, which being 
thus intentionally dismembered, will ere long sink to the 
lowest stage of degradation. When, however, these united 
elements combine in one perfect composition, their sensible 
charm is happily contrasted with the severe grandeur of the 
surrounding figures and circumstances, and while themselves 
elevated and refilled in expression by that very association, 
they diffuse an indescribable tenderness and softness through- 
out the whole. Raphael may be studied as an example of 
perfection in this, never suffering his representations of 
sensible beauty, though equal to, and even surpassing those 
of Titian, to disturb the harmony of the whole composition. 
The only naked female figure belonging to the cycle of 
Christian art is that of Eve ; but here the solemnity of the 
subject, if adequately rendered by the painter, must prevent 
all injurious association of ideas. Raphael, in the *' Camera 


della Segnatura," has depicted the pare consort of the Father 
of mankind as a charming seducer, lovely and graceful, in all 
the tenderness of youthful beauty ; but what eye could be of- 
fended even though the blushing shame of her looks, the cons- 
cious guilt of her expression, awoke far other thoughts and me- 
mories ? Even in mythological subjects, the channs of sense 
are interwoven by Raphael merely as a quite subordinate 
element: take, for instance, the Psyche, the Galatea, and 
the exquisite Marriage of Roxana. A principle, however, 
is involved in the choice of such subjects, which is always 
liable to be carried to excess. Thus in the fresco paintings 
of the Carracci, who aspired to tread in his steps, all restraint 
is completely thrown off, and sensual beauty becomes the 
centre and object of the entire composition, to the utter sub- 
version of the spiritual idea of loveliness. 

We cannot be surprised that Parrhasius should have 
been a voluptuous painter, since that property harmonised 
completely with the religion and philosophy of paganism ; 
yet even he never suffers himself to expend his allurements 
and embellishments on ordinary voluptuousness, but rather 
seems to entertain a devout feeling of the sacredness of that 
lofty beauty, whose bosom is the source of all earthly loveli- 
ness and grace. 

If succeeding painters aimed at a different object, and 
selected other subjects foreign to the perfection of beauty 
(for Greek art could never rise to the highly spiritual in 
character or expression), it was only because they too early 
wandered from their original truth and purity. After the 
death of Phidias, who had treated sculpture as its true iuten- 
tion and grandeur required, those who succeeded him wan- 
dered into innumerable paths of error; the subjects they 
selected, and the objects at which they aimed, were alike 
incompatible with real excellence; and it seems probable 
that Greek painting expired with Parrhasius, as sculpture 
did with Phidias. Our ideas of the progress of art are in 
general too systematic. It may be possible to adhere to 
system in that later period of already declining art, when the 
natural, the severe, the charming, and the voluptuous appear 
to be elegantly and systematically arranged, rising gradually 
one out of the other ; and it is to these times, already de- 
signated the later, that the old authors, whose opinions we 

110 PAINTINGS IK PABIS^ 1802-1804. [LETTER m. 

are prone blindly to follow, most. probably referred; these 
opinions will oonsequeatly be of very little use in illustrating 
the grand Christian style. There was no gradual transition 
from the old to the new manner : a vast gulf divides the 
latter epoch from that which we characterise as truly beau- 
tiful and noble, and in the same manner the distance between 
the first timid attempts of the art and the kxfty boldness of 
its maturer epoch was traversed at once, and by a single 
bound. The same, doubtless, occurred in Greek art, and 
has done so in all periods, and in all spheres of human oper- 
ation. The truly excellent, combining in itself every element 
of purity and truth, starts like a ghost into the astonished 
world, and even as suddenly the glorious apparition with- 
draws, leaving only a long line of feeble shadows on its 
track, like echoes of remembered tones, the dim memorials 
of departed greatness. 

The progress of modem art has been precisely similar. 
For upwards of a thousand years from the first establishment 
of Christianity, the pictures of saints, designed for devotional 
purposes, repeated precisely the same symbolic forms, thus 
corresponding with the so-called Etruscan manner prevalent 
in the earlier stages of classic art These purely ecclesiastical 
paintings are still common in the Greek church ; but sud- 
denly in the industrious West a new impulse stirred, like 
that indicated by the -Sginsstic figures in classic art, and 
with Giotto, in Italy, and the predecessors of Van Eyck, in 
the German Netherlands, a new sun dawned on the morning 
of Christian art, to whose rising beams your attention will 
be directed in the succeeding letter. 



The Victory of Alexander, by Altdorfer. — Paintings of the old School 
of the Netherlands at Brussels. — Great Altar-piece by Raphael. -^ 
Ihe Dusseldorf Gallery ; a grand Martyrdom, by Diirer ; St. John 
and a Holy Family, by Raphael, Guido, and Rubens, as exemplifying 
two opposite Extremes of Mannerism in Painting. — A Copy of the 
St. Margaret, of Raphael, at Cologne. •— A few Figures of Saints, on 
a gold Ground, by Diirer. — Old Cologne School of Painting ; great 
Altar-piece, representing the Three Kings worshipping the Infant 
Saviour, and the Patron Saints of Cologne. — A Series of old Pictures 
on the Passion of Christ, in the Lyversberg Collection.— Portrait of 
the Emperor Maximilian. — - Challenge to modem Artists. 

Summer, 1804. 

Besides the Italian paintings in the Sestoring Room at 
the Louvre, with a description of which my last letter closed, 
I saw at the same time many of great value belonging to 
the earlj German schools. 

The account I propose giving of them will serve as a sort 
of explanatory introduction to my succeeding observations 
on many of the finest compositions of that «nd of the old 
Flemish schools, which a journey from Paris to Brussels, and 
thence through the Rhein-land as far as Cologne, gave me an 
opportunity of seeing. 

I shall open my description of those I saw at Paris, by 
noticing one little picture, brought from the church of 
San Luigi, at Rome, a '^ Madonna in the Garden." The 
foreground is occupied by a richly ornamented fountain of 
transparent water, and tha neatness and delicacy of the exe- 
cution remind us so entirely of the old German style, that it 
seems scarcely possible to assign it to any other school; yet 
there are no authentic grounds for so doing, and if this very 
early picture be indeed Italian, it affords a new proof of the 
great similarity between both schools in their first commence* 
ment Further on is a votive picture, brought from Munich, 
and attributed to Van Eyck ; yet this statement appears to 
me scarcely credible, and in the absence of all historical 
evidence to set the point at rest, I must doubt its belonging 
to that master. The countenances are very different in ex- 


pression from any of those I have seen in his pictures, and 
belong rather to the lower Grerman school. Though of small 
dimensions, this is one of the most remarkable devotional 
paintings I have ever seen. The highly-finished execution 
of the various diminutive animals and wandering figures dis- 
persed throughout the garden is almost marvellous, and the 
rich and delicate landscape which fills the background is 
seen through richly-adorned, open church architecture. One 
might inspect many collections of pictures without finding 
one equal or similar to this : a little world as it were, in the 
smallest, almost microscopic, style of miniature-painting. 
Still there is nothing about it either trifiing or insignificant. 
No, it is calm and serious throughout ; and these character- 
istics are so prominent in the figure of the Donatorius kneel- 
ing on the lef^ and in that of the Madonna enthroned on the 
right, above whose head angels suspend a crown of entwined 
jewels, that we cannot mistake the pious character of the 
early masters of the old school : the same peculiarities, in- 
deed, characterise the entire work. The head of the Dona- 
torius is very profoundly imagined, so much so, that even the 
finest heads of Holbein appear comparatively frivolous and 
superficial, and all the smaller figures are no less carefully 
finished. The countenance of the mother of God is of the 
severest beauty, in the exact proportions of Van Eyck, but 
almost more graceful than in many of his pictures. The 
head of the Saviour fully justifies my remark on the national 
features apparent in this painting. It strongly resembles 
another old Grerman picture of less than life-size, which was 
some time since exhibited in the long gallery of the Louvre, 
but without any number. The Holy Virgin in this picture, 
though somewhat differently treated, is undoubtedly by the 
hand of the same master. She is seen enthroned in the centre 
of the picture : on her right a holy bishop, and on her left the 
kneeling Donatorius, presented by St. George in full armour. 
Except in German pictures, we rarely meet with a counten- 
ance so expressive, chivalric, and smiling, as that of the 
Saint George. The head of the Donatorius in solidity and 
profoundness resembles that in the little picture. The archi- 
tecture and surrounding objects are even more ancient, and 
the dress is exquisitely finished, as in all other pictures of 
this school. Judging from others that I have seen of Van 


Eyck'sy there seems still less reason for supposing this paint* 
Ing to be his, but I should affirm it to be a very excellent 
work in the manner of the old Grerman school. 

Were I permitted to select a few from amongst all the 
pictures I have ever seen, this little painting would un- 
doubtedly be one of the number, on account of its exquisite 
finish and delicacy. Yet it is far surpassed by a little com- 
position of Altdorfer's with figures of one or two inches in 
height.* I scarcely know whether to call it a landscape, an 
historical painting, or a battle-piece, — it is indeed all these 
combined, and much more. I cannot describe the astonish- 
ment I felt on first beholding this wonderful work. It was 
as if to one familiar only with the light, graceful verse of the 
Italians, and aware of no higher order of poetry, the magic 
world of Shakspeare's genius were suddenly unfolded in all its 
glorious creations. This simile, however, applies only to the 
depth and richness of the poetry in Altdorfer's painting, not 
to the romantic spirit which reigns supreme throughout it; 
so remarkably, indeed, that we might justly style it cbivalric. 
It represents the victory of Alexander the Great over Darius. 
But there is no servile imitation of the Greek manner ; it 
rather resembles the stories of old knight-errantry, as related 
in the romantic poetry of the middle ages. The costume is 
German and knightly ; both men and horses clad in steel, 
with surcoats of gold and embroidery. The chamfrein on the 
heads of the horses, the glittering lances and stirrups, and 
the rich variety of Uie armour, form a scene of indescribable 
beauty and splendour. There is neither blood, nor any object 
likely to excite disgust and horror, — no severed or dis- 
torted limbs ; only in the immediate foreground, if examined 
very closely, we discover under the feet of the charging hosts 
on either side, in their impetuous onset, many piles of corpses, 
lying thickly together, like a web, and forming, as it were, 
the groundwork to this world of war and arms, of glancing 
steel, and still more glittering fame and chivalry. It is, in 
truth, a little world comprised within a few square feet of 
canvas. The innumerable hosts of combatants advancing 
on all sides appear inexhaustible, and the distant landscape 
seems also to lose itself in immensity. The wide ocean 
stretches before us in the distance ; an historical error, if you 

* Pinaeothek, Munich Cabinets, No. 169. 



will, bat which is made the vehicle of a lofty and speaking 
allegory. We see the sea, with lofty cliffs on either side, 
and a ragged island lying between them, ships of war and 
whole fleets of other vessels ; on the left the sinking moon, 
and the sun rising on the right, form a striking and 
correct emblem of the event represented. The armies are 
arranged in rank and column, without any of the strange 
contrasts and distortions common in battle-pieces ; indeed, 
with so vast a number of figures, this would have been im- 
possible. It has the order, perhaps it may be termed for- 
mality, of the old school The character and execution of 
the little figures is wonderful, and would not be unworthy 
even of Durer. Let it be remarked, once for all, that the 
solidity of ezecutiou apparent in this pictare, notwithstand- 
ing the injuries it has sustained, is superior to any we meet 
with even among good masters of the Italian school, and 
belongs only to the early German. What variety of expres- 
sion is there, not in the individual knights and warriors alone, 
but in the whole assembled armies ! Here colunms of black 
archers rush down the mountains, with the impetuosity of a 
sweeping torrent, while added numbers press on behind 
them. On the other side, high above, among the rocks, a 
scattered body of the flying is seen, turning into a narrow 
defile. Little can be distinguished except their helmets, 
glittering in the sun ; and yet the whole scene, even in that 
remote Stance, is most expressive. The point of highest 
interest stands out brilliantly in the centre, as the general 
focus of the composition, — Alexander and Darius, both 
glittering in armour of burnished gold. Alexander, mounted 
on Bucephalus, with lance in rest, and advancing far before 
his followers in eager pursuit of the flying Darius, whose 
charioteer has already fallen on his white horses, while 
Darius looks back upon his conqueror with all the rage and 
despair of a vanquished king. One may withdraw to so 
great a distance from this picture, that nothing else can be 
discerned, and yet this group is still clearly defined, and 
excites feelings of the deepest sympathy. It is a little Hiad 
on canvas, and by the mute language of its colouring, might 
instruct those who abandon the holy path of catholic symbol- 
ism in quest of new and grand subjects, and aim at producing 
really romantic compositions, how the stirring spirit of 
chivalry ought to be expressed. 


"The Siege of a Town,'** painted by Martin Fezcle, 
though not actuallj in a bad style, has little lofty poetic feel- 
ing. I was particularly struck with a group of knights in the 
furthest background, represented within the court-yard of 
the citadel, clad in black armour, their helmets raised and 
hands mutually clasped, exchanging pledges of fidelity. Thus, 
the sensibility of the early German masters betrayed a feel- 
ing soul, when others would perhaps have thought only of 
contrasts and trifles, or have contented themselves with 
attending to secondary details, — less essential, but more 
easily mastered. 

Both these pictures are said to have been brought from 
Munich. If there be many more such paintings in that town, 
Grerman artists will do well to travel thither, and learn the 
art of our national predecessors f , as they now visit Rome or 
Paris in order to study the treasures of classical antiquity, or 
of the Italian schools. We can scarcely hope to see a revival 
of art in Germany until we possess some art-loving prince of 
German origin and temperament, or until some connoisseurs 
and investigators of the art arise, who being able to devote 
their lives to that sole object, seek to unite in one ^reat body X 

* Pinacothek, Munich Cabinets, No. 155. The artist is styled in the 
Catalogue Melcher Feselen. 

f Munich has now united with its original treasures, consisting chiefly 
of works of the Upper German schools, the delightful Augsburg and 
Schleissheim Collections, as well as tbe valuable Dusseldorf Gallery. If, 
in addition to this, we reflect on what the ^ginatic Collection, unrivalled 
in its kind, and the building of the Glyptotheca, designed for the more 
worthy preservation of ancient sculptures, have done towards the en- 
couragement of fresco-painting in Germany, we see that a body of early 
German art of various kinds is there united, which inspires the brightest 
hopes, and, with the national seats of art, Dresden and Vienna, seems tc 
promise a new basis for the future elevation of the general style o) 
German art. 

1 This wish has since been fulfilled by the formation of the Boisser^e 
Cmlection, (also now in the Pinacothek at Munich,) and in a manner far 
surpassing every expectation that had been formed concerning the then 
little known superiority of German art. Its value consists not only in 
the masterpieces of various artists there assembled, but also in the per- 
ibction of the historical arrangement, the correct judgment, and artistic 
feeling with which these fine works of the old Germans have been selected. 
It aifords a further example of what, even in our day, may be effected by 
a noble peraeveranoe constantly directed to one object. 

z S 


all the now-existing and widely-scattered compositions of the 
old Grerman schools. The mingling rajs of German art 
being thus concentrated in one focus, their effect would be 
inconceivably heightened, and they would prove at least as 
valuable and surprising as any exhibition of the assembled 
treasures of Greek or Italian art. The ancient Germans 
were peculiarly grand and original in their works, though 
modern ignorance is unacquainted with them ; and a shallow 
rage for imitation, in bitter self-contempt, seeking the dark- 
ness, refuses to acknowledge it. But has this copying ever 
produced anything excellent in any art? Nothing, — no- 
thing throughout! except what is either preposterous or 
completely shallow and useless. The poet who suffers his 
fancy to stray and luxuriate in distant regions, may perhaps 
be pardoned, yet even poetry must return from its quest of 
foreign treasures, and seek at home for what forms the 
closest point of union of feeling and of poetry among his own 
people and in his own times, or his poetry will be ever cold 
and feeble. The intellect, however, and the imitative art, 
become choked up, restricted in their length and breadth by 
such apparent improvement in variety. Certain circum- 
scribed boundaries are necessary to the vigorous and success- 
ful development of the peculiar feeling of the art, and of 
what it ought to effect. Truths, dictated by reason, are 
universal. Imagination loves to wander in the unknown 
distance, but reason seeks rather to pierce to the lowest 
depth, and latent origin of what is near to us and around, 
and so to reproduce it in painting, that in this new-born and 
clear representation of the incomprehensible mystery of 
nature, an impulse from the heart may suddenly break 
through, uttering as it were unspeakable words ; while 
imitation can find none more lofty or expressive than have 
been abeady heard. Springing from what is near and 
peculiar to us, the character of the art will infallibly be local 
and national. We may trace the general proportions of a 
beautiful figure according to a certain type or idealization, 
but to preserve a distinct individuality of expression and of 
countenance is also of the highest importance. As long as 
the art devoted itself to the service of the church and of 
religion within the mysterious circle of symbolism, that 
ppiritVlri beauty and holy signification which is the same in 


all Christian countries, of course supplied the first and highest 
distinction to which national characteristics must ever be 
held subordinate. Still this latter element is not to be blotted 
out, nor entirely lost ; it must rather interweave itself with 
each liigher attribute, and thus give to the arrangement of 
the whole that sensible grace and living charm which are 
so peculiarly its own. It has already been remarked, that 
in the works of the oldest masters of the Italian school the 
national features and physiognomy are so marked as often to 
appear harsh and glaring, while in the later period all these 
characteristics disappear in a general ideality, becoming by 
degrees completely frivolous and characterless. The reverse 
appears, generaUy speaking, to be the case with the Germans. 
In their earliest pictures, designed after the Greek style, a 
holy symbolism and severe dignity of devotional expression 
predominate, while the actual characteristics of the people in 
features and costume are first remarked in a much later 
period ; then it is true, so glaringly brought forward, as often 
to appear harsh and almost caricatured. This is especially 
to be observed in Lucas van Leyden and his contemporaries 
of the Netherlands. The vivacity and varied expression 
with which DQrer seized and depicted the German national 
features, contributed to preserve a less variable character in 
the upper German schools, which in them ever remained 
predominant, and in time assumed a heavy, dull breadth of 
expression. It must not, however, be overlooked, that in 
the schools of the Netherlands, at their best period, all these 
elements were most happily blended, as in Van Eyck, and 
Hemling, who united the deep symbolism of devotion and 
holy beauty with a German abundance of feeling and ex- 
pression. Nay, Meister Wilhelm, of Cologne, nearly as he 
assimilates to the Greek style, still in the calm godliness 
which forms the general characteristic of his pictures, and of 
his conceptions of the Madonna in particular, and of other 
glorified saints, clearly indicates a tendency to the rejoicing 
Hfe of the German manner at that period. We trace this in 
the countenances, as well as in the surrounding groups of 
figures, and a certain fantastic richness and delicacy in the 
many-coloured robes and costume. The study of these lively 
characteristics and national peculiarities is of especial im- 
portance at the present time, as forming a necessary element 

I s 

118 PAINTINGS IN PAEis, 1802-1804. [lettee IV. 

of every vivid representation, and one in which modem art 
is most deficient, being more in danger of losing itself in the 
abstract generalisation of an ideal, equally feeble and 
frivolous, than of falling into errors of an opposite tendency. 
Until the amalgamating confusion of later times, every nation 
had its own distinct features, in manners, customs, feeling, 
and physiognomy, and equally national peculiarities in music, 
painting, and architecture. How, indeed, could it be other- 
wise ? Much has been said concerning the universality of 
beauty, and the art, as unrestricted by the limits of any 
locality, yet never has a single spot been discovered in which 
it can successfully throw off the peculiar characteristics of 
the sphere in which it exists. Certainly the attempts 
hitherto made on this principle give us little reason to an- 
ticipate much advantage from the prcwaulgation of this new 
faith. The Greeks and Egyptians, the Italians and Ger- 
mans, all became great in art while it was confined within 
severe and well-defined limits, and in all alike we may date 
their decline from that high eminence at the period when 
indiscriminate imitations were first practised. The excellence 
of painting, in particular, which can present an outline only 
of material forms, depends greatly on its power of seizing 
both the purely spiritual and the individual expression of 
those forms, and it should so employ the magic of colouring, 
as to embody and retain the exact proportions and appropriate 
ideality of each object, as existing in different nations and 
localities. The artist will do well to adopt and act upon the 
well-grounded principles of Diirer, who, when would-be 
critics blamed his manner of painting, and strove to turn 
him from his path, replied, '* I will paint nothing antique." 
In him the many magnificent works of art displayed at 
Venice excited no false attempt to imitate the Italian style, 
for he held it much better to remun true to his own deeply- 
studied art. He had no higher ambition than to paint as a 
German, striving to attain the highest perfection in that 
style, and fully carrying out the vigorous and energetic prin- 
ciples of the upper Grerman schooL He united and blended 
with them the varied vivacity and rich imaginative faculty 
of the lower German masters ; a manner which harmonises 
entirely with the inconceivable treasures of his own creative 
genius, and, indeed, is almost necessary to their full develop- 


ment. I shall now attempt to analyse and examine the 
principles of this peculiarly imaginative style of the old 
Grerman masters, and the schools of the Netherlands in 
general, by giving a concise description of the most remark- 
able antique paintings at Brussels and Cologne. 

The Exhibition opened at Brussels, since the 9th 
Messidor, year xi, consists partly of pictures sent thither 
from the Parisian Museum (in compliance with the order 
before alluded to), and partly of such as belonged originally 
to that province ; besides some old paintings removed during 
the Bevolution from churches and monasteries, and which 
are now collected and shown to the greatest advantage in 
a well-lighted and spacious museum. The six first apart- 
ments contain many famous paintings of the later schools 
of Italy and the Netherlands, and, unlike the generality of 
such collections, many not unworthy of their fame. I select 
from among them a good picture by Palma Yecchio, a 
*^ Deposition from the Cross," of small dimensions; two 
'^ Holy Families," after Leonardo and Raphael, which, al- 
though copies, certainly give a very intelligible idea of the 
great originals. A portrait of a wcfman with a carnation 
in her hand*, by Garofalo, said to be a picture of his wife : 
it h«, been ^^fly injure? and was not originany finished 
with so much decided energy, depth of feeling, and expres- 
sion, as his own portrait painted by himself in the Louvre : 
the latter is rather under the size of life, but the female por- 
trait at Brussels is the full life-size. 

I was most delighted, however, with the seventh room, 
which, with the exception of one large picture by Raphael, 
is filled with the early masters, namely, with compositions 
of the school of Van Eyck, Engelbrechsen, Coningsloo, Van 
Orley, Coxcei, or Coxcis, Schoreel, Hemskirk, and many 
others less known, and belonging even to an earlier period. 
This exhibition is most instructive in regard to the history 
of the art, and gives a far better idea of the treasures and 
characteristics of the old school of the Netherlands than can 
be obtained from ordinary collections, which rarely possess 
many of these rare antiquities. We see here no trace of 
what is called the Dutch style, as applied to the more modem 
schools ; none of their uniformity in the choice of subjects, 

* Garofido used the carnation (Garo&lo) as his emblem flower. 

I 4 


their deceptive imitation of nature, and mannerism of colour- 
ing, but everything is in the highest degree simple and 
noble. In almost all the earlier pictures of every school 
we trace the manner of the first Van Ejck, although they 
have not, it is true, all his originality ; and notwithstanding 
the great general similarity, we remark also many decided 
variations. Some, for instance, are so completely in Diirer's 
style, that they seem almost like intentional imitations. Nor 
does it appear in any degree surprising that DUrer should 
have been so frequently copied, both by the schools of the 
Netherlands, and of the Lower Rhine. The " Adoration of 
the Kings," with the "Circumcision," and the "Adoration, 
of the Shepherds," on the side wings, by John Schoreel 
(No. 99.), struck me at the first glance as completely in 
DUrers style. This famous Dutch painter was one of the 
last to preserve the serious, meditative, and devotional style 
of Van Eyck and Hemling, and even in his time explained 
and developed it : his finished pictures have a soft, bright 
tenderness of outline and colouring not often seen in pictures 
of the same size, even by Diirer, whose characters appear to 
be of harder metaL We possess, however, abundant and 
incontrovertible evidence, that long before the period of 
Diirer, many old pictures, completely in his style, are to be 
found, and figures which we can scarcely avoid assigning 
to his school ; this observation applies to a wonderfully ex- 
cellent picture which I saw in one of the private apartments 
of the Brussels GraUery (No. 1^5.), representing the " Be- 
trayal of Christ," and the " Resurrection." In the Cata- 
logue it is merely described as " a very old picture." It is 
without a frame, and probably belongs to the earliest period ; 
but it is so completely in the style of Diirer, that I willingly 
acknowledge that it may actually belong to his school ; in 
many respects it is highly excellent, and would scarcely be 
unworthy even of Diirer himself. 

In order the better to account for these reciprocal re- 
semblances, we may remark that Diirer himself worked in 
the spirit and style of the painters of the Netherlands, and 
that in all his compositions we recognise, more or less dis- 
tinctly, an attempt to blend the style of the Netherlands with 
the ordinary character of the Grerman schooL. It is easy to 
trace the point of transition, the first step towards the union 
of both German schools ;* and it is precisely because Diirer 


SO completely embodied both the rich fancy and artistic skill 
of Lower Germany, and the peculiar spirit of his own school, 
that so many paintings are found in the Old Netherlands 
which, not bearing the stamp of any other known master, 
are supposed to belong to Diirer and his school, either as 
followers or predecessors. 

In others of these paintings we see a decided leaning 
to the Italian style, or, to speak more correctly, an effort 
to attain it, that style having been brought into notice either 
by tourists and amateurs, or perhaps only from an influx of 
designs. Such especially are Nos. 93 and 94., by Engel- 
brechtsen, and No. 98., by Coningsloo. There is nothing at 
all deserving commendation in any of thede pictures ; and if 
the union of the two German schools appears to contribute 
to the perfection of each, the false Italian tendency of a few 
among the masters of the Low Countries appears like an 
attempt to combine and unite essentially distinct and incom- 
patible principles. It is remarkable that these Italianizing 
painters of the Netherlands were far inferior to the others, 
and the habit of copying soon obliterated the admirable 
peculiarities of their early national school. Even the treat- 
ment of costume betrays a predilection for undefined, half- 
antique drapery, instead of the delicate art and industry of 
highly-finished garments; and the countenances, notwith- 
standing the feebleness which they mistook for ideality, have 
occasionally a wonderful affinity with the best painters of 
the French school. Thus the groundwork of degeneracy 
was first laid, and a false manner introduced, which ere 
long diverged into the broad road of universal error. Cer- 
tainly other painters of the school of the Netherlands, and 
most probably those who best knew the Italians, remained 
faithful to the old German style, and the wider range of 
their cultivation is discernible only in the superior freedom 
of their treatment. The truth of this remark is sufficiently 
proved by a votive painting of Bernard Van Oriey (No. 96.), 
a half-length, in three compartments. One is a Piet^, re* 
presenting the body of the Saviour, mourned over by his 
friends and the holy women : it resembles the style of Lucas 
Van Leyden, but is more noble. The family of the Dona- 
torius are represented beneath, in two compartments; on 
the left, the men presented by an apostle, and, on the right, 
the women headed by St. Margaret : the objective solidity 

122 PAINTINGS IN BRUSSiXS, 1802-1804. [lETTEB IY. 

in the head of the old man, and the soft, tender colouring 
in the extremely lovely female figures, remind us of Holbein. 
In the old schools of the Netherlands there are in reality 
many more varieties and diversities of manner than we are 
accustomed to imagine. The imitators of Diirer and of the 
Italian style are sufficiently characteristic, and how different 
from both is the style of Lucas of Leyden 1 The latter is 
certainly highly original, and therefore merits attention, 
although I cannot award him unqualified praise, on account 
of his numerous errors of form and attitude^ and his exag- 
gerated and artificial delicacy. He is by far the most man' 
nered of all the painters of the Netherlands, almost ap- 
proaching to the false nature of the later schools (called 
Naturalisti). He is, however, most remarkable for a certain 
arbitrary, yet delicate and fantastic waywardness and ca- 
price ; so that his productions sometimes appear to us like 
those of a highly intellectual but sickly child, and sometimes 
like those of a wonderful but premature old age. We must 
not be surprised if the works of so capricious a master be 
found to take their character from his moral temperament 
and the chief events of his life. In so far, however, as the 
preponderance of the whimsical and Eemtastic marks the 
Lower Grerman school, we must trace these peculiar fea- 
tures, both when they are found in the greatest excess, and 
when they. appear to be but partially developed, and in this 
respect Lucas of Leyden presents an instructive example, 
and is himself also an important member of the school of 
art in the Netherlands. I saw in the Lyversberg Gallery, 
at Cologne, two finished altar-pieces by Lucas of Leyden, 
which gave me a much higher opinion of his genius than I 
had formed from the lai^e " Deposition from the Cross " and 
the " Herodias'' at Paris. One of these pictures represents 
the Saviour on the Cross, St. Agnes and St Alexius on the 
right, and on the left St. Cecilia, and St. John the Baptist : 
St. Mary Magdalene, in the centre, embraces the foot of the 
cross ; by her side is St. Jerome in the habit of a cardinal, 
and with the lion. The other pain^g represents Christ in 
the Clouds : St. Thomas is placing his finger in the Saviour's 
wounds, and nmnerous saints surround him ; on one wing 
are Hippolytus and St Afra. The landscape is particularly 
bright and glowing, the background being formed by a line 
of clear blue hills, as in the best Venetian paintings. Ihe 


pictures of Lucas of Leyden have a decided affinity with 
those of the old Venetian school, as, in a later period of the 
already-bewildered art, Rubens, by the soft blending of his 
colours, and his struggle for poetical energy and richness, 
approached the grand Roman and Florentine style of Michel- 
angelo, or rather that displayed in the genial compositions 
of Giulio Romano. 

The already-noticed Hemling stands alone in the circle 
of well-known masters. He has all the pathos and Grerman 
feeling of Durer, but without his caricature and other pecu- 
liarities. In spiritual beauty and devotional feeling, as well 
as in clearness of meaning, he excels all painters of that 
school, and can be compared only to Yan £yck ; his execu- 
tion is tender and highly finished, yet his objective pro- 
foundness cannot be surpassed even by Holbein, or any of 
the Upper German masters, while none of the Lower Ger- 
man school possess equal richness and poetic fancy. 

Quintin Metsys, a few good pictures of whose are at 
Paris, is, to a certain extent, ori^nal in his manner ; a con- 
fined manner, it is true, and a red brown tone of colouring 
is at least perceptible, if it does not predominate in aU his 
pictures. Thus, throughout all the compositions of some 
masters, we trace either their own characteristics, or the 
history of their love, repeated under every variety of ex- 
pression : still the careful finish of Metsys's pictures, and 
their expression of piety and sincerity, will always inspire 
pleasure and deserve esteem. Among poets, some of narrow 
and confined views write of sentiment alone, and from the 
influence of personal feeling, while others, of universal 
genius, portray various diaracters and individual tempe- 
raments ; and thus, in the art of painting, each master can- 
not be a Diirer, a Holbein, or an Eyck ; but even those of 
inferior genius, if their fec^ling be sincere and their execu- 
tion careful, are beautiful and necessary members of the 
art, and all will be seen blooming and prospering together 
in the Paradise of God, the mighty and the feeble, in peace- 
ful union. 

When we examine for the first time a collection of 
old German pictures, like that at Brussels, or others, rich 
in works of art, but not arranged in historical order, it is 
like voyaging on some wild and unknown sea, without chart 
or compass. We feel the want of some fixed point amid 


all the rich treasures before us ; some guide to aid us in 
tracing the gradual progress and structure of the whole, 
and the numerous ramifications through which it reached 
its existing stage of development. The inferences to be 
drawn from our preceding contemplations may perhaps 
serve as a guiding idea for this purpose, and at the same 
time form an introduction to my subsequent remarks. Van 
Eyck * was the grand scientific founder, the master and ori- 
ginator, of the old Flemish school, and yet, from his pro- 
found science and the objective solidity of his execution, 
he alone possesses a remarkable afiinity with the schools of 
Upper Germany, his style comprehending, indeed, every- 
thing that is grand and noble. We must go back to Wil- 
helm of Cologne for the first beautiful beginning, the rosy 
dawn of art in Germany. Hemling has been already no- 
ticed as having reached the highest perfection in that school, 
and Schoreel, who adhered longest and most faithfully to 
the beautiful laws of Catholic symbolism and devotional 
painting. In a state of universal degeneracy and aberra- 
tion, Lucas of Leyden became remarkable from his singular 
and capricious waywardness, the first germ of which may 
indeed be found implanted in the elementary character of 
the school of the Netherlands. The rich luxuriance and 
fanciful delicacy of the Lower German school appears to 
resemble, as far as the difference in the art and the material 
permits, the second flowery and ornamented period of Gothic 
architecture. A similar strain of glowing fancy reigns in 
both, and it was in the German Netherlands, where romantic 
architecture attained its highest perfection, that the chief 
schools of painting also flourished. If Diirer be considered 
as the point of union and an intermediate step between the 
schools of Lower Grermany and the Netherlands, Holbein, 
on the other hand, at least in his finest compositions, displays 
the Upper German style in greater purity. In both schools 
there is an inexhaustible fund of isolated and remarkable 
ideas of art, which cannot be comprehended under any par- 
ticular head in tracing its gradual development. 

After this short digression, we return to consider 
the collection of pictures at Brussels, none of which appeared 
to me finer than two very old paintings by an unknown 
master (Nos. 153 aifd 154.), in an apartment not yet open 

* Hubert, John Van Eyck's elder brother and instructor. 


to the public. Thej are both of small dimensions, but the 
figures are larger than is customary in old Italian pictures 
of that class, and the same observation applies to many of 
the old Grerman and Flemish paintings to which I shall 
have to direct your attention. The subjects are the " Fla- 
gellation," and the ''Ascension." Judging from the style 
alone, wc must, in default of historical data, pronounce these 
pictures to be of much earlier date than Van Eyck ; still it 
is easy to be misled by first impressions in regard to the 
period of works of art- We are always disposed, by our 
preconceived ideas, to imagine that what is rude in art must 
necessarily be of early date ; but that this conclusion is not 
always just is proved by the architecture of the middle ages, 
which, after attaining, in the thirteenth century, the rich 
perfection of the decorated style, became, in succeeding 
years,^ incomparably more coarse and defective. Thus, in 
the latter part of the fifteenth century, we find among the 
successors of Van Eyck many pictures which, from their 
homely manner and treatment, we should assign to a much 
earlier date, had we not historical evidence to the contrary : 
in fact the development of the arts can never be subjected 
to rules of such mathematical strictness and accuracy as .to 
admit of no deviation. In both the above-named pictures, 
the beauty of the heads, their energy of expression, the 
splendid colouring and delicately-finished execution of the 
drapery, are all strikingly excellent, and must claim unqua- 
lified praise even from modem taste, scarcely being surpassed 
even by the best pictures in the school of Van Eyck. They 
are all simply designed, on a gold ground ; in the '^ Ascen- 
sion," the feet only of our Saviour are visible, seen through 
an opening in the heavens, the body unseen. This position 
is customary in the oldest representations of that subject. 
The JMadonna is particularly beautiful, and many of the 
heads of the apostles are also excellent : the whole treatment 
is similar to the oldest of the Italian pictures brought from 
San Luigi, decidedly in the Byzantine style, though the old 
German school is distinctly recognisable. The singular 
pomp and rich tints of the costume afford indications of the 
manner afterwards carried to perfection in the school of 
Durer ; but these pictures are altogether more simple, and 
less crowded with marvellous and fantastic ideas. The 
expression of malevolence in the figure of the tyrant in the 


" Flagellation" reminds us of Diirer, but there is less of ca- 
ricature in this. Diirer, in his later time, was undoubtedly 
much indebted to the better masters of the Netherlands; 
nor can it be doubted that he both learned and borrowed 
much from the earlier paintings of that school. Both the 
pictures just described are correct examples of the old style 
of the German school in the countries of the Netherlands 
and the Lower Rhine : by old style I shall in future under- 
stand particularly those which are earlier than Yan Eyck. 

A large altar-piece by Baphael, the size of life, is the 
most important of those in the Museum of Antiquities at 
Brussels : it was sent thither from Paris on account of the 
repairs it required, and was besides but littie valued by 
the French, being in Raphael's first manner. It is what 
is generally called a holy conversation.* The Madonna is 
seated on a simple throne, surrounded by four saints, with 
angels below, singing from a page of music. Connoisseurs 
assign to this picture a very important place in the series of 
distinct works by this most exalted genius. It belongs to 
the period when Raphael had not yet, lured by Michel, 
angelo and the antique taste, proved false to himself; yet it 
has all the warmth of feeling, the vigour and richness of 
treatment, in which his earlier pictures are deficient. In 
but few of his pictures do we see Raphael so completely 
himself, so expressive, so pure and free from all foreign 
intermixture. The heavenly boys are the perfection of 
childish beauty, in the representation of which Raphael still 
remains unequalled. Joseph also, rudely clad in a pilgrim's 
habit, and leaning on his stafi*, is a majestic figure, with a 
fine head and long-fiowing beard, looking on the Infant 
Christ with an expression of unfeigned afiection. The 
St. Bruno also is one of the most expressive Italian coun- 
tenances ever dcawn by Raphael. The Madonna belongs 
to the intermediate style of Raphael. But the majestic 
unity of the whole picture most claims our admiration ; and 
among the numerous representations of the same subject, 
this is perhaps the only one in which the appropriate senti- 
ment is preserved, the theme being in general completely 
lost in the working out. The surrounding saints are not 
idle, useless figures, arbitrarily introduced, and only for the 

* The following description partlj applies to the Madonna mentioned 
in Kug1er*8 Handbook of Painting, Italy, p. 249. — Dram, 


sake of artistic contrasts of attitude and expression. The 
varioius parts belong essentiaUj to each other, and every 
figure introduced seems necessary to the perfection of the 
whole ; all are expressive, natural, and so linked together by 
the earnest sincerity of their demeanour, as to appear ac- 
tually absorbed in a devout conversation, which lofty mean- 
ing is powerfully heightened by the attitude of St. Bruno, 
turning towards the spectator. It is a truly grand compo- 
sition; everything homely and simple, yet with the most 
correct expression. It recalls to our minds the old Correggio* 
at Dresden, representing the Madonna enthroned, with 
St. Catherine, St. Francis, St. Anthony, and John the 
Baptist^ which is indeed the only picture that can be men- 
tioned as in any d^ree resembling this of Raphael's, un- 
questionably one of the most meritorious of his works. 

The valuable Diisseldorf Grallery, containing famous 
works by masters of the modern era, particularly of those 
belonging to the school of the Netherlands, has been so 
amply described elsewhere, that my observations may be 
confined to a few among them only, which will best illustrate 
my previous observations on the old masters. 

One picture, by Diirer, of complicated subject, and very 
small dimensions, appears to be only a sketch, if, indeed, 
it be not a mere copy. The subject is the '^ Martyrdom 
of the early Christians in Persia," and contains many 
figures ; but the composition is not so well arranged, expres- 
sive, nor profoundly imagined as we might expect, nor is 
the execution in any respect so thoughtfully finished as is 
usual with that great master.f 

I found among the better paintings of the old Italian 
masters a beautiful '^ Adoration of the Shepherds," by the 
Venetian Pordenone, very much resembling that by Palma 
Yecchio, at Paris, already described. The paintings by 
Andrea del Sarto, here exhibited, do not belong to his finest 
works. I have many doubts as to the authenticity of an 
^* Ecce Homo," attributed to Correggio ; the Redeemer's form 
is excessively disfigured and blood-stained, the painting 
careful, but fiat and cold. A very small '< Holy Family," 

* No. 125. G. i. Catalogue 1782. 

f Hie original of this most rich, but from the theme bonifying, eom- 
potition IB ID the Vienna collection, and executed in a most masterly 


bj Michelangelo, has all the characteristics of the most 
esteemed paintings of that master. The design cannot be 
attributed to any other hand ; and we remark an exagger- 
ated and unnatural grandeur in feature and attitude. The 
^' St. John," attributed to Raphael, is universally famous and 
admired : hence we shall probably not err in assigning it to 
that period of his life in which he had already diverged into 
the track of error, and the imitation of the antique. This 
St. John is, in fact, so much like an Apollo, that with very 
slight alteration it might pass for one. Notwithstanding the 
clever foreshortening, it is a very cold picture, and the figures 
and general treatment, if, indeed, belonging to Raphael, are 
more widely removed than in any of his other compositions, 
from the original tone and bias of his beautiful and devout 
spirit. Perhaps it most resembles the " St Michael'' at 
Paris, but how far more grandly conceived is the latter 
composition, — how much less cold and constrained, — perfect 
as is its artistic treatment ! The colouring of the " St. John'* 
is extremely different ; some of the shadows are certainly 
heavy, but the original chiaroscuro, the contrasted and blended 
tints, are perhaps more striking than in any of Raphael's 
paintings. There are no other paintings of the same kind 
here; and before deciding to which of Raphael's manners 
this picture, or rather the treatment of it, belongs, it would 
be requisite to point out in what manner it connects itself 
with the numerous other paintings of Raphael's now existing 
in Italy, and which, with a few trifling differences, repeat 
the same subject. 

A " Holy Family,"* by Raphael, is incomparably more 
pleasing and valuable: it is in his, so called, ^^ first manner," 
a term too frequently employed as an indirect censure of 
some of his finest and most successful works. The bright- 
ness and serenity of this picture, the vivid harmony of co- 
louring, especially in the greens, crimsons, and other brighter 
tints, deserve great praise, as also the simplicity and gran- 
deur of the arrangement, which is pyramidal ; the powerful 
figure of Joseph, leaning on his staff, seeming to indicate at 
the same time the extreme background of the picture, and 
the highest point of the pyramid. We might observe ot 
this picture, as well as of that at Brussels, that it is com- 

* Now in the Munich Gallery. Sec Kugler*8 Handbook^ Italy, 
Ixiv. 13. 


pletelj what it ought to be. Innumerable " Holy Families," 
by the most various masters, may be esteemed tor a variety 
of individual beauties, and in some points may perhaps be 
richer than the simple work now under consideration; but 
in this picture the one true idea, the exactly correct expres- 
sion is given, without a shade of exaggeration or affectation, 
— the simple ^* mot" that solves the enigma, and no more. 

The " Susanna"* of Domenichino is, perhaps, the finest 
of the remaining pictures. 

The HaU of Bubens will claim the attention of every one ; 
that master can be thoroughly studied only here. His wild 
fancy and extraordinary genius, which even in its errors be- 
trays a highly poetical temperament, the magic variety of 
his colouring, so remarkable a property in the old schools of 
the Netherlaiids, would make a separate treatise requisite 
f uUy to analyse his merits, and to award him the praise or 
censure he deserves ; but this would be by no means com- 
patible with my present intentions. He does not appear to 
me in his most prepossessing character in such grand and 
splendid compositions as the '' Judgment," nor in his general 
treatment of pictures of Christian saints, but rather in such 
themes as afford fuU scope to the play of his rich and poe- 
tical fancy ; and at the same time, by restraining it within 
certain limits, prevent its straying into vague uncertainties, 
and by concentrating its powers, invest them with a richer 
bloom. Such are the famous ^^ Battle of the Amazons," here, 
and the magnificent ** Tiger and Faun " family, in the Dres- 
den (rallery. 

The " Assumption of the Virgin" f by Guido, is, per- 
haps, the best jacture of the later Italian schools in this 
collection; still, though more grandly imagined than this 
master's compositions in general, it is by no means so finely 
executed as the <' Fortune," at Paris, or the exquisite 
** Madonna," in the collection of Lucien Buonaparte. In this 
we see united the two extremes of erring genius and mis- 
taken ideas of art — the mannerism of Rubens and Guido, 
with a cold empty ideality. I shall, perhaps, excite asto- 
nishment, by numbering ideality among the false principles 
of declining art ; but tMs term, although in its original accep- 

• Pmacotbek, No. 526. f Finaoothek, Munich, No. 531. 



tation ezpresaing a trae and genuine feeling, may also, taken 
in a contrary sense, signify something false throughout : igno- 
rantly supposing it to reside in outward forms alone, and mak- 
ing these the first and highest objects, whereas the significant 
intention of the whole, and the participation therein of each 
individual figure, is the only true object to be sought Thus 
the ideal in painting, as well as in other arts and intellectual 
creations, is sometimes supposed to consist, not in a studi- 
ously contrived and genial combination of various contrasting 
elements, — not in an intentional deviation from the true 
proportions of nature, — in order thereby to indicate the 
high attributes of divinity, which was perhaps the intention 
of Winkelmann and others, who first spoke of the ideal, but 
rather in such an unmeaning, middle path as, avoiding all 
extremes, is concerned only to avoid delineating anything 
mean or low. In all the mechanical arts, that of painting 
not excepted, we find two distinct methods of avoiding ex- 
tremes, which may be distinguished as the full and the 
empty medium ; the full is that in which all the contrasting 
elements concentrate their power, and which invariably be- 
comes the source of a new vitality, so that of this we may 
with truth assert not truth alone, but beauty also lies in the 
medium. The other middle path is barren, unfruitful, and 
negative throughout, and it is this which people now term 
ideal, and which has no affinity whatever with that lofty 
symbolism, which seeks to stamp the impression of divinity 
on every lineament of a work of art. Guido, when he rose 
above simple grace, sought thus to attain the false ideal 
alone; and this is the sole object of the French school. 
Rubens and Rembrandt might claim a higher rank than the 
French masters or the feeble Italians of the later schools, 
because there is at least some vigour in their errors ; and 
though the spirit of affectation reigns throughout, their na- 
tural talents are undeniable, and even their misemployment 
of colours is marked by a certain degree of originality. The 
modem French school unites both erroneous principles, the 
barren false ideal, obtained by copying from the antique, 
and the most glaring theatrical execution. Certainly the 
striking and eye-startling effect produced by the new-fashioned 
style is far from artistic, but in the highest degree theatrical, 
and so exaggerated that it almost supersedes nature herself, 
and becomes only a copy of the most complicated drama. 


Such oompositions, howeyer, produce at least a decided effect, 
and have, therefore, more character than those of the modem 
German school, which, carried away by the pursuit of a false 
ideality, represent that ideality only by varied deformity and 
a total abs^ce of any kind of expression* 

At Cologne I was particukurly struck with a picture 
of St Margaret, by Raphael, in the possession of the painter 
Hoffinann. This picture was formerly in the Jabach col- 
lection, which is not unknown in the annals of art, and 
whence the picture in the Royal Collection at Paris was also 
taken. The latter*, however, has been so much injured, 
that it will require to be almost entirely repainted, to re- 
store it In this state it may now be found in the 
Restoring Room at the Louvre, with one or two other 
pictures, already noticed, but its too apparent injuries give it 
but a melancholy expression ; and although the sublimity of 
the conception is indeed indestructible, it is painful to feel how 
irreparable are the iiguries it has sustained. Is this picture 
an original, or a veiy old copy, made under the direction of 
Raphael himself? * The Parisian picture is now so greatly 
injured, that it would be impossible' to give a satisfactory 
answer to this question, without some particular historical 
evidence ; and consequently the picture at present under 
consideration must be received as the only existing example 
of this incomparably beautiful painting. In Italy there are, 
probably, repetitions of the same subject, but the beautiful 
" St Margaret^" at Vienna, is very differently treated. I 
leave to those practical artists who, by a long residence in 
Italy, by continual study of Raphael's works, and by fre- 
quently comparing them with each other, are qualified to 
judge, to decide by which of his scholars this picture was 
painted, and whether the head be not by the luuid of the 
master himself. The theme and intention of this picture 
resemble the " Saint Michael :* the conception is equally 
lofty and grand, but the triumph of the blessed saint over 
all the hideous monsters surrounding her is much more easy 
and graceful. We do not here see the victorious arm of the 
conquering hero and prince of spirits, but the unconscious 

* This picture was so mueh damaged in the attempt at restoration, 
that it is no longer exhibited. It was originally painted on panel for 
Francis I., and an attempt was made to transfer it to canvas. — Trans, 

K 2 


triumph of guileless love and glorious beaut]^ at whose feet 
the wicked expire, unskin. The divinity revealed in the 
attitude of the saint, as, holding the palm branch in her 
hand, she treads on the wing of the monster, without even 
glancing at the creature thus annihilated by her foot, is 
rendered in the engraving with great vigour. The serene 
countenance of this heroine of the Christian faith is lofty, 
yet full of individual grace and beauty ; the divinity speaks 
in her bright blue eyes, and the heavenly smile upon her 

I remarked in the same collection a few figures of 
saints, by Diirer, on a gold ground, and once forming the 
wings of an altar-piece, full of character and profound 
feeling. We see in old pictures a decided preference for a 
gold ground, which was retained in the south of Grermany 
much longer than in Italy. It seems almost probable that 
Diirer designed this picture during his journey into the 
Netherlands, and perhaps for some church there. It is 
a striking deviation from his usual style, and undoubt- 
edly owed its origin to some peculiar inducement, for a 
landscape background certainly gave more room for re- 
vealing the universal treasures of his capricious imagination. 

Many other important pictures claim our notice, the 
offspring of our own native art and country. The ancient 
jcity of Cologne, which at one time contained more than one 
hundred churches, the greater number deserving to be cited 
.as specimens of the fine symbolic designs and exquisite 
work of Gothic architecture, would alone suffice to unfold 
the entire history of that . art from its earliest period down the wondrous perfection exhibited in the cathedral now 
erecting. The city of Cologne, notwithstanding the injuries 
and violent changes which war and its attendant evils have 
brought upon her, and in which her churches and mon- 
asteries severely suffered, is even at this period no less rich 
in old pictures, than valuable to the student of Gothic 

I here allude to a collection of old German paintings, 
belonging to a rich, comprehensive, and well-defined school, 
superior, perhaps, to any in southern Germany, — a school 
which unquestionably proves the internal unity and connec- 
tion of the earlier style of Germany and the Netherlands. 
There we find pictures worthy of being ranked with the best 


of Holbein's ; others in Durer's manner, or of the school of 
Van Ejck ; and others, again, far older than either of these 
masters : these last partly unite in themselves the distinc- 
tive peculiarities of each of the great founders and architects 
of the German school ; and notwithstanding their individual 
deviations and peculiarities, bear an unquestionable aflinity 
to one or other of those styles. It would be difficult even to 
enumerate the various styles into which the earliest pictures 
of a yet unfixed state of art may be divided and classed, ac- 
cordmg to the many masters already named. 

A taste for the early style appears, indeed, to have sub- 
sisted here much longer than eLsewhere ; and Germany is 
even now distinguish^ by real talent and science, and a 
general fondness for the art, manifesting itself in an universal 
predilection for making private collections of paintings of that 
period more especially. Many of these pictures, even of later 
date, are painted on wood, with a golden ground ; sometimes 
canvas is glued upon the panel, and on this again another sur- 
face is lai^ which gives more durability to the colouring. The 
tints are wonderfully brilliant ; the blue employed through- 
out is ultramarine, and the other colours are no less costly. 
Most of these pictures are still in the same condition in 
which they were left at the period of the general destruction 
of churches and monasteries, where, aflter having been first 
thrown aside, they were subsequently sought for and rescued. 
Still many are widely scattered, and exhibited singly in va- 
rious private collections ; many of the latter are placed here 
in distinct compartments, the greater number of them judi- 
ciously arranged, and each with one uniform and decided 
object, so that they seem naturally to take an appropriate 
place in illustrating the history of the art. The collection of 
the learned Canon Wallraff*, when properly arranged, will, 

* This collection has since become the property of goyenxment, and is 
now devoted to the public adrantsj^e. The great altar-piece, representing 
the Madonna and the patron Saints of Cologne, has found a worthy home 
in the great cathedral, whose magnificent stained^glass window shines in 
renovated brilliancy ; a similar restoration has taken place in many other 
churches. Many new collections have been formed by the taste and in- 
dufttry of private individuals, containing a variety of antique gems of 
beauty of the Cologne and other Lower German schools; as, for in- 
sCanee, that of the intellectual Herr Foehem. 

During a short visit which I made to Cologne in the spring of 1818, 1 

K 3 


perhaps, be the most valuable for that object, for having 
directed his researches chiefly to one subject, he has suc- 
ceeded in forming a complete series of paintings of the 
school of Cologne, tracing it from its earliest origin, through 
Van Eyck, Diirer, and Hans van Achen, down to that later 
period, when Bubens and Yandjdc became the models of 
Grerman taste. It would be impossible to give a satisfactory 
historical analysis of this almost unknown branch of German 
art, without a full and complete investigation of the antique 
treasures here assembled. I shall, however, select for pre- 
sent consideration three pieces only, of different kinds, in 
the hope of giving at least a few preliminary ideas of the 

The crowning work of the Ck>logne school is a large 
picture, in three compartments, very rich in figures of the 
size of life, painted on a gold ground. It was formerly in 
the chapel of the Town Hall. The centre picture in the 
inside represents the Adoration of the Eangs ; on the right 
wing St Grereon, the patron saint of the city, with his com- 
panions in arms ; on the left St. Ursula, with her host of 
virgins, and attended by her lover. Saint Etherius : the 
bishops Kunibert and Severinus are in the background. It 
was evidently the artist's design to depict the assembled 
guardians of the city. This picture is unique in its kind, 
and, like the yet unfinished cathedral, stands alone among 
other ancient works, more from the simple dignity of the 
execution, than from any peculiar grandeur in design. Many 
connoisseurs have proposed assigning this picture to Diirer, 
merely because the extraordinary excellence of the work 
immediately suggests the name of this the most famous 
master of the little known German school. The bizarre 
attitude, costume, and figure of some among the attendants of 

derived much pleasure and instruction from a very rich private Election 
of paintings on glass, carried down in dtronologiad order from the first 
beginning to the final decay of the art 

The Boisser^e Collection, [now in the Pinacotbek, at Munich], which 
at Heidelberg excited the mterest and astonishment of innumerable 
foreigners, u now an ornament of the capital of Wirtemberg, where it 
is better arranged, and in more spacious apartments ; it places before 
our eyes, in the most instructive manner, the grand original principles 
of the schools of punting in the Netherlands generally, and is also 
enriched by many valuable compositions belonging to the school of 
Cologne, as well as by the great master of the altar-piece in the cathedral. 


the Magi may slightly resemble that master, yet these pecu- 
liarities belong to all the masters of that schooL The fresh, 
Boit, vivid carnations in the heads remind ns of Holbein, but 
again truth of colouring and depth of tone are characteristic 
of the time, and the prevailing style ; though, certainly, to 
attain such lofty perfection must ever be the heritage of the 
superior few alone. The dark-green foreground, like a rich 
carpet of thickly interwoven plants, and strewed with soli- 
tary flowers and field fruits, almost rivals the style of [John] 
Van Eyck. The calm, solemn expression of the heads is also 
in his manner. This picture well illustrates the remark pre- 
viously made concerning the union in one composition of the 
most remarkable characteristics of each of the three great 
Gierman masters, which, when thus united, never encroach 
upon each other, like those various manners of the Italian 
school, which, according to the recipe of Mengs, we must 
believe it necessary and possible to combine in any truly 
classical production. The wonderful industry displayed in 
the execution, and the dazzling splendour of colouring, are 
more admirable than is usual, even in the finest pictures of 
the old German schooL It appears, indeed, a rare combina- 
tion of whatever any age has produced of costly or grand. 

The rich details are finished with minute, and even, loving 
care, and the whole conception appears to emanate from the 
inward breathings of love divine. We find in it indeed a 
beauty all its own, in which the works of the before-named 
masters are deficient The delicate bloom of spiritual love- 
liness had been revealed to the soul of the happy and sensi- 
tive painter. To him it was given to gaze into the depth of 
her mysterious eyes, and all his pictures are fraught with 
inspiration by her breath. As Fra Angelico among the 
early Italians, and Raphael among the modems, stand un- 
rivalled in the delineation of loveliness, so is this master un- 
equalled among German painters. With the heavenly ima- 
gination of the one, he combines the lofty beauty of the 
other, but he takes a higher grade in technical art than 
Angelico, and may rather be compared with Perugino. The 
Mother of God, enthroned in the centre panel, robed in a long 
flowing mantle of dark blue lined with ermine, will remind all 
who behold her of the Virgin at Dresden, [Madonna di San 
Sisto], by thenii^eetic grandeur of her countenance, which is 

K 4 


rather larger than life^ and its superhnman ideal beauty. Yet 
the modest inclination of her head towards the child, and the 
mild light of her soft ejeSy is more in harmony with the ancient 
type.* The hands, also, which in very old pictures are fre- 
quently feeble, in this equal those of the finest painters, but the 
legs and feet have something Etruscan in their formal posi- 
tion and pointed shoes, which indicates their antique origin. 
The general arrangement would be admired, even by artists 
of the present day. This picture may be compared, in regard 
to the richness of the expressive, almost colossal, and yet 
highly-finished heads, with that fine production of RaphaeFe 
already noticed. The figures, especially those of the side 
groups, where the foreground is clear, stand out majestically. 
The principal figures are those of the two martyrs. St Gereon, 
in full armour, but without a helmet, and the beautiful 
St. Ursula, with an arrow in her hand, standing near her 
lover, who gazes on her with inexpressible tenderness. How 
beautiful and full of deep feeling is the manner in which these 
figures indicate, or rather symbolise their martyrdom, by 
their tranquil attitudes, and pale, calm countenances, soften- 
ing by these melancholy accessories the joyous grandeur of 
the subject in the centre, into an indwelling emotion of 
tenderness and love. It would, indeed, be impossible to 
name all the beauties of this picture, or even adequately to 
describe the outline of its arrangement, and the rich origin- 
ality of its ideas. The entire art is exemplified in a painting 
like this, and nothing more perfect formed by human hands 
can be conceived. 

May I be pardoned for attempting to convey an im- 
perfect idea of the impression produced upon me by this 
altar-piece of the city of Cologne, in its three-fold division, 
by a similar number of poetical imitations ? 


A dazzling ray of golden light is gleaming 
Where sits the Virgin on heaven's lofty throne. 
Her brows encircled by the jewelPd crown 

Her mantle's azure folds wide round her streaming. 

* Dans Torigine on la representait seule, asset ordinairement debout, la 
main sur la poitrine et les yeux iev^ rers le ciel ; ce ne fut gudrc que vers 
le commencement du cinquieme siecle (^apres le conseil d*£phese tenu en 
431) qu'on la peignit assise sur un trone aveo I'enfimt J^sus sur ses bras 
ou sur ses genouz. — Forme de VArty noH topagt 14. A. F» Rio, 


And tender flowerets from the turf are springing 
Where to the Virgin, and her blessed Son, 
The Magian kings frt>m Asia's distant zone 

Worship and offerings joyously are bringing. 

With pious seal rich eastern gifts outpouring. 
The costly gold, and myrrh's delicious breath, 
The Holy Child in solemn pomp adoring. 
And with mankind in harmony appearing 
Angels rejoice in heaven, and holy &tth 
Shines forth anew, and hope the ever-cheering. 


Whok on the Word, in dauntless faith relying, 
A warrior armed as from the field returns? 
The Cross upon his azure banner bums ! 

Joyous in soul, and rich in love undying I 

St. Gereon, his hero-host inspiring, 

Hastes from the gloomy portals of the tomb, 
To that blest clime where joys immortal bloom. 

Guerdon of lofty faith, and zeal untiring. 

Serene in mind, mighty in love and fiiith, 
The blessed trust that dies not nor decays, 
. Such were the hero-hearts of other days. 
The martyr's palm they bore with soul unshaken, 
Brethren in love, the bond was sealed by death, 
And now at Mary's feet to bliss they waken ! 

In goigeous robes, her virgin train around her, 

St Ursula from earthly thrall set free, 

Approaches, the brief pang of agony 
And death's sharp pain, with deathless bliss have crowned her. 

Humble, yet confident, -» on God relying. 
She treads his courts ; her lover at her side 
Follows with pious zeal his glorious bride, 

Hie bright-haired boy I with her a martyr dying. 

With anxious care his glance on her he tumeth, 
' On her, with whom the martyr's pain was sweet, 
And in his heart a glorious impulse burneth. 
While love's dear smile o'er all that fair world glowing, 
Seems with bright mingling hues their step to greet. 
Bliss, that no parting tears may dim, bestowing. 

And the name of this gifted master has for long cen- 
turies remained unknown ! It is so even now ! Thus it has 
ever been with the works of German art. Can we even 
name the man who projected the cathedral, — that wonder 


work of all ages ? Their labours were prompted less by the 
desire of personal fame, than bj a pure love of art, and on 
posterity is the guilt of forgetfulness and ingratitude. A 
friend of mine has been so fortunate as to obtain a few 
small pictures, evidently the work of the same master. Afany 
of the heads appear evexi to have been the first ideas, subse- 
quently transferred from these early studies to the large 
painting, though certainly not without considerable altera- 
tion, being both more richly developed and more highly 
finished. The ideas of the large painting lie enclosed in 
these slight sketches, like unfolded flowers, each shrined in its 
delicate bud. The same loving grace pervades all the smaller 
pictures, which have the highest interest for any one who 
has seen the large one, to which they decidedly belong. It 
becomes evident, on comparing these little pictures and the 
twelve apostles by the same master with the large altar-piece, 
that they belong to an earlier epoch. Doubtless, a picture 
designed to minister to the glory of the city of Cologne and 
its assembled patron saints, would be undertaken at a time 
when the master had attained the highest development of his 
genius, and in its execution he would not fail to sunmion to 
his aid ail his powers, both mental and mechanical. The 
important bearing of these remarks will be seen as we pursue 
our investigation of the origin of this picture, and may afibrd 
some clue to guide us upon the track of its author. The 
most certain ^^ point cTappui^ is to be found in the period at 
which this painting was completed, early in the fifteenth 
century, probably about 1410. Guiding ourselves by this 
certain fact, and the peculiar resemblance between this and 
other works by the same master, we are led, dearly, and 
almost without the possibility of error, to Meister Wilhelm, 
of Cologne, who is mentioned in the Limberg Chronicle 
towards the end of the fourteenth century, as a most famous 
master then existing, and of the city of Cologne. The most 
celebrated master would undoubtedly be selected to execute a 
work so m^estic, and in a city so renowned as Col<^ne, and 
so prosperous in every elegant art. A most preponderating 
probability appears, tiien, to exist, that Meister Wilhelm of 
Cologne was the gifted author of this migestic and wonder- 
ful picture.* None but the decisive historical evidence of 

* Frequently assigned to Meister Stephan, a scholar of Wilhelm. 


contemporary writers could, in my opinion, be more conclu- 
sive ; there is, however, but little prospect of our obtaining 
this, as the corporation book of the Cologne painters, to 
which we should naturally refer, has long been lost. All 
those excellent masters, who created so vast an abundance of 
varied compositions, were undoubtedly individual members of 
the body, or guild of painters, incorporated in every Grerman 
town, and with whom glass-stainers and embroiderers are 
also united, on account of the general use of beautiful and 
artistic designs for tapestry and carpets, as well as on glass. 
Simple matters of fact such as these afford some idea of what 
Cologne formerly was, though her present condition seems 
hopelessly distant^ even from the memory of her former 

However, should any doubt remain as to the existence at 
Cologne of so eminent a school of painting, we may cite in 
confirmation a sufficient, and truly contemporary evidence 
found in the antiquities of Suabia. It is given by one of 
the finest early poets of Germany, yet in the oblivion to 
which all German fame is consigned in the present age of 
ingratitude, few will recognise him under that character 
alone. Wolfram von Eschenbach, in the Parzival, (pub- 
lished about 1200), verse 4705. of the Wyllerschen edition, in 
speaking of the enchanting beauly of a certain knight, says : 

" From Cologne nor Maestricht 
Not a limner could excel him.*** 

This poem belongs to the early part of the thirteenth cen- 
tury, and the manuscript itself is not, in the opinion of Bod- 
mer, much more modem. The verse quoted, consequently, 
proves that the Cologne school was famous almost two •cen- 
turies before the time of Van Eyck, or it would not have been 
named in preference to others, certainly not by a poet^ who^ 
bora and brought up in southern Grennany, had lived at a 
tolerably wide distance from the towns mentioned. Both 
pictures belong to a period of perfection and beauty in style* 
A series of eight compositions in the Ly versberg gallery, of 
small dimensions^ but in which the figures are fir^ twelve to 

* Am quoted hj FtenTant : 

** Von Cholne noeh von Maestricht 
DeeheiD Seiltefe entwnrf *ea 


eighteen inches high, belong, as well as those already noticed 
at Brussels, with which thej have a strong family resemblance, 
to a far worse school, or ruder epoch, which, however, is not 
of necessity earlier. They have been ascribed to Israel van 
Meckenen, and probably belong to the latter part of the fif- 
teenth century. Though not without merit, they certainly 
hold a far lower grade as works of art than the productions 
of Van Eyck or Hemling. They represent the " Passion of 
the Redeemer," and the subjects of each picture in the series 
are: — 

1. " The Last Supper.** 

2. " The Taking of Christ upon the Mount of Olives.*' 

3. <<The Mocking", with the Flagellation in the back- 

4. *' The Judgment before Pontius Pilate." 

5. " The Bearing of the Cross." 

6. « The Crucifixion." 

7. " The Deposition from the Cross." 

8. « The Resurrection." 

These pictures have a gold ground, and yet in many of 
them a landscape is introduced. The fre^est, brightest 
greens predominate in the general colouring. Notwithstand- 
ing what has been said of them above in reference to other 
and finer pictures, these are among the most beautiful and 
admired antiquities of lower Grerman art Their excellence 
consists in the pomp of colouring, the elegant arrangement of 
the drapery, and the fascinating effect produced by a most 
perfect and industrious finishing, yet the same excellence is 
found in many of the old German pictures. The depth and 
energy of expression in the heads is truly imcomparable, and 
the pictures of the " Mocking" and the " Crowning with 
Thorns," resemble many of Diirer's conceptions of the same 
subject, in the brutish ferocity and malignity of the expres- 
sion. The nobler features are, however, no less remarkable, 
and the heads of the twelve apostles, in the ''Last Supper," 
deserve especial notice and admiration. The St. John re-*^ 
clines at the table, leaning on the breast, and under the arm, 
of the Saviour. This difficult foreshortening is very incor- 
rectly drawn, which may be taken as a certain proof of the 
antiquity of the picture, as the drawing of the heads, and the 
attitudes generally, show the artist a clever, and in general, 


correct designer : the hands are models of excellence in form 
and execution. The fine expression and beauty of the heads 
entitle this master to rank among the best in the old schools 
of Grermany. I have seen nothing among the generally 
known German paintings more sweetly lovely or tranquilly 
graceful than the countenances of the Madonna and the 
St. John in the '* Deposition from the Cross.'' St. John, who 
supports the Madonna, turns his fine head, encircled by long 
flowing hair, towards the spectator, with an almost enthu- 
siastic expression of sorrow. The holy corpse is already 
taken down, and is represented as in the arms of those who 
bear it to the litter. The female figures are pale and sorrow- 
ful, and little varied ; the mother, who is clothed in a dark 
blue robe, has her eyes fixed on the corpse, and her arms 
extended towards it in tender solicitude, as if almost for- 
getting herself and her own bereavement, she desired only to 
guard that beloved and insensible body, unconscious that it 
no longer lived or felt. She is very youthful and life-breath« 
ing, and so deliciously soft in her virgin beauty, that we are 
ready to accompany with our own the pure tears streaming 
from her deep blue eyes : never has sorrow been depicted 
with more pathetic grace than in this picture. " The Be- 
surrection," severe in simple joyfulness, is, next to the *' Last 
Supper," the most exquisite, in point of grace, as the ^'Crown- 
ing with Thorns," is in expression. Here the radiant coun« 
tenance of the risen Lord, scarcely resembles even the 
joyfully inspired, yet still mortal Christ of the '^ Last Supper," 
though in each of the other paintings the highly expressive 
features are exactly similar, excepting the difference naturally 
arising in the '^ Crucifixion" and the '^ Deposition," from 
the nobly-managed distinction between death and the dying. 

A portrait in the collection of Herr Wallrafi^, of the Em- 
peror Maximilian, the size of life, appeared to me well 
deserving study, both instructive and heart-ennobling.* 

The emperor is seated at an open window, the corner of 
which forms the extreme point of the right foreground, 
before a table, the Colouring of which is neutral, or merely 
tinted in; he is in full imperial costume, the sceptre in 
his right hand, while the left grasps the hilt of his large 

* A dapHcate of this portrait is in the Vienna Gallery, but that at 
Cologne is finer in execution. 


sword. Over his majestic golden armour is thrown a dark 
green mantle, adorned with a broad border of pearls ; on 
his head a splendid crown, studded with precious stones : 
the order of the golden fleece, suspended from a gold and 
jewelled chain, rests upon his gorgeous breastplate. The 
face is almost in profile, and the countenance bears the stamp 
of wisdom and dignity, combined with the softest benevolence 
and gentleness. It is thrown out in strong relief by the 
crimson hangings of the wall in the background, which 
occupies more than half the picture ; the long light hair is 
combed down on each side of the fiice, in a manner peculiarly 
stiff and formal, probably in his usual style of wearing it, but 
the painter has successfolly employed it as a kind of inter- 
mediate background to the outline of the face. The careful 
industry displayed in finishing the minor details is surprising, 
even when compared with the universal neatness of the Q^ 
man school. The face, however, is but slightly coloured — 
scarcely more than tinted, and tender in treatment; the exe- 
cution throughout is finished with most anxious care : even 
Holbein has no carnations more warm and life-like. The 
open window affords a glimpse of a landscape, forming the most 
distant background on the right, its broad bright green border 
beautifully cut out from the crimson arras. It represents 
the open sea, and a chain of steep, impassable mountains, 
upon the highest points of which, and in caves, and hollow 
passes, the bounding chamois are seen pursued by the 
hunters of the Alps, in allusion, probably, to the well-known 
adventure of the chivalric emperor, who, when hunting the 
chamois, was on one occasion rescued from imminent danger 
by a faithful and attached follower. This picture belongs to 
the highest, or historical style of portraits, from the landscape 
background, and significant accessories introduced, and the 
noble expression throughout, of which Leonardo and Raphael 
have left us a few examples, well characterised by the name 
of symbolic portraits. I could not, however, mention any 
portrait of theirs fully equal to this, which may appropri- 
ately be termed an "heroic portrait," as the "Itefeat of 
Darius," by Altdorfer, was designated a chivalric picture, for 
the sentiment of knightly honour and royal dignity are as 
classically blended as in a poem of romance and chivalry. 
To me it seems a striking emblem of the majesty of the old 


German empire, before foreign wars and home dissensions 
bad destroyed its power, placing before us the last moment of 
its declining greatness, like the pomp and majesty of a de- 
clining sun. 

The pictures here described will suffice to give a 
preliminary idea of the valuable works of old German mas- 
ters, to be found at Cologne. And now, in conclusion, one 
question arises, standing in close connexion with the chief 
object of all our observations and reflections. Is it probable 
that in this present time we shall see either the rise or the 
permanent establishment of a grand original school of paint- 
ing ? Outward appearances would lead us to reply in the 
n^ative ; but can we assert its utter impossibility ? It is 
true, certainly, there are no modem artists capable of com- 
peting with the great masters of antiquity, and the points 
in which our attempts are most deficient appear also tolerably 
dear : partly, a neglect of technical proprieties in the co- 
louring, and, still more, the absence of deep and genuine 
feeling. Modern artists even of the most judicious and 
well-directed talents are often found deficient in productive 
activity ; in that certainty and facility of execution which 
was so peculiar a feature in the old schools. When we con- 
sider the infinite number of great compositions which Ra- 
phael produced, although snatched away in the bloom of 
age and the zenith of his fame, or the iron industry of the 
genuine Diirer, displayed in his innumerable creations of 
eveiy kind, executed on the most various materials, although 
to hun also a long term of years was denied, we shrink from 
comparing our own puny period with the vast proportions 
of that majestic epoch. Yet this is easily accounted for. 
The habit of universal painting, and the intellectual vanity 
which was a prevailing bias in the genius and art of our 
forefathers, naturally led to the breaking up of its spiritual 
strength, since these properties were most incompatible with 
the progressive development and final perfection of any one 
distinct branch. To this source we may refer the separation 
now existing, in a greater or less degree, between all the 
intellectual and imitative productions of our time ; but in 
regard to the art of painting, the following observations 
deserve to be noted as of primary importance. Deep feeling 
is the only true source of lofty art, and as in our time every- 


thing is opposed to this feeling, struggling, as it were, either 
to destroy, repress, overwhelm, or leacT it astray into the 
by-paths of error, the first portion of an artist's life is con- 
sumed in a preliminary struggle, ere the mind can enfran- 
chise its powers from all the unspeakable difficulties imposed 
by the spirit of the time; a struggle unavoidably necessary, 
in order to unseal the spring of correct artistic feeling, and 
free it from the encumbering rubbish of the destroying outer 
world around. 

A highly intellectual nature, spuming the trammels and 
conventionalities of the day, and rising in daring opposition 
to the ruling spirit, must ever concentrate its powers within 
itself, and can rarely attain great vivacity in the creative 
faculty of imagination. Thus we may account for the slow 
appreciation of ancient art in our day ; but pressing onward 
with unshaken ardour in spite of all obstacles, it will at 
length attain a brighter future, and bloom out with new and 
glorious life in the realms of beauty and inspiration. There 
appears to be an unfathomable mystery in the fact that some 
periods, by their own will alone, and apparently without any 
outward stimulus, become so rich in art, so happy in their 
artistic productions, while others seem to expend their energy 
in vain, meeting with no corresponding nor even adequate 
success in their intellectual productions. It is impossible 
fully to unravel the mystery, and we must depend only on 
facts well known and understood, which will prove amply 
sufficient to guide us to the source of all lofty works of art, 
and the proper means and materiab to be employed ; this 
will lead to the working out of scientific principles, and the 
conservation of everything beautiful in Christian art, 
although without the especial gifts of nature, the summit of 
artistic excellence will ever remain unapproachable. 

The one true fountain of beauty and the art is feeling. 
It is feeling which reveals to us true ideas and correct inten- 
tions, and gives that indefinable charm, never to be conveyed 
in words, but which the hand of the painter, guided by the 
poet's soul alone, can diffuse throughout all his works. From 
religious feeling, love, and devotion, arose the silent in- 
born inspiration of the old masters : few, indeed, now seek 
their hallowed inspiration or tread the paths by which alone 
they could attain it, or emulate that earnest endeavour to 


work out the principle of serious and noble philosophy which 
is discoverable in the works of Diirer and Leonardo. Vain 
will be every effort to recall the genius of the art, until we 
summon to our aid, if not religion, at least the idea of it, by 
means of a system of Christian philosophy founded on reli- 
gion. Still, if young artists deem this road lioo distant or 
too difficult of attainment, let them at least study deeply the 
principles of poetry, in which the same spirit ever breathes 
and moves. Not so much the poetry of the Greeks, now 
familiar only to strangers and the learned, or read through 
the medium of translations from which every poetical asso- 
ciation is banished by the wooden clapper-clang of the dac- 
tyls, but rather the romantic genre — Shakspeare, and the 
best Italian and Spanish dramatists, those also of the old 
German poems which are most accessible, and next such 
modem productions as are dictated by the spirit of romance. 
These should be the constant companions of the youthful 
artist, and will lead him back to the fairy-land of old ro- 
mantic days, chasing from his eyes the prosaic mist engen- 
dered by imitation of the pagan antique, and the unsound 
babble of conventional art. Still every effort will be fruitless, 
unless the painter be endowed with earnest religious feeling, 
genuine devotion, and immortal faith. Fancy sporting with 
the symbols of Catholicism, uninspired by that love which 
is stronger than death, will never attain exalted Christian 

In what, then, does this exalted beauty consist? It is 
of the first importance to analyse the good and evil tendency 
of all theories of the art. Whoever has not himself disco- 
vered the fountain of life can never successfully guide others 
to the source, or unfold to them the glorious revelations of 
the painter's art ; he will rather wander perplexed amid the 
dreamy visions of mere external representations, and the 
creation of his imagination, being totally void of expression 
and character, will become in fact a mere nonentity. The 
true object of the art should be, instead of resting in ex- 
ternals, to lead the mind upwards into a more exalted region 
and a spiritual world. While false-mannered artists, content 
with the empty glitter of a pleasing imitation, soar no 
higher, nor ever seek to reach that lofty sphere, in which 


146 PAnrxiirGs or coix>gne. [lbtteh it. 

genuine beaaty is portrajed aeoording to eertain defined 
ideas of natural characfeeristics. It finds on its path the 
most Tivid development of all sensible forms ; the fascina- 
tion of graoe» the highest natural bloom of jouthf ul beautj, 
yet endowed rather with sensual fascination than the in- 
spired loveliness of the aouL When heathen artists at- 
tempt to take a higher range, thej wander into exagger- 
ated f<»in8 of Titanic strength and severitj, ix melt into 
the solemn moomf ulness of tragic beauty, and this last is 
the loftiest point of art that thej can ever reach, and in 
which they do sometimes approach nearly to immortality. 
Here, however, their lofty flight is terminated : the path of 
spiritual beau^ is barred on the one hand by a Titan- 
like exaggeration, striving to take heaven and the divinity 
by violence, yet failing in the power to acoomplish its en- 
deavour; on the other by an eternal grief, ior ever plunged 
in mortal agony, in the hopeless bondage of its own un- 
alterable doouL The light of hope dawi^ not on heathen 
intelligence ; impassioned grief and tragic beauty bounded 
their purest aspirations. Yet this blessed light of hope, 
borne on the wings of trusting faith and sinless love, though 
on earth it breaks forth only in dim anticipations of a 
glorious hereafter, — this glorious hope, radiant with immor- 
tality, invests every picture of the Christian era with a 
bright harmony of expression, and fixes our attention by 
its clear comprehension of heavenly things, and an elevated 
spiritual beauty which we justly term Christian. 

Many paths, old as well as new, must be tried and 
broken up before that certain road is laid open, in which re- 
novated art may securely tread, and attaining the long- 
sought goal, bloom forth in high religious beauty. Here 
and there, perhaps, extremes may seem to produce the same 
effect, and it would not be astonishing if in the present uni- 
versid tendency to imitation, some genius, conscious of its 
powers, should break forth into a longing desire for absolute 
originality. If such a genius were penetrated with a true 
idea of his art, justly esteeming that symbolic expression 
and revelation of divine mysteries which is its sole appro- 
priate object, and regarding all besides merely as the means, 
the working members, or characters which, duly combined, 
produce a correct expression, his compositions would probably 


be the foundatioB of quite ft item style * : ^^uine hieroglypliic 
epoboh, the eimple offspnog of nature and natural feelings, 
iNit drawn fron indiyidual coaceptioBs, and arbitrariljthrown 
together rather than in aoeordanoe with the aaeieBt methods 
of an earlier workL Every auch pietiire might weil desenne 
to be oaUed ahieroglTphic^ or divine symbol; and the question 
now to be considered is, whether a paanter ought to trust 
thus implicitly to his own genifis £or the creation of his 
allegories, or confine himself to the adoption of those old sym- 
bols, which have been handed down to ub» hallowed by tradi- 
tion, and will always, if r^htly understood, fuove sufficiently 
ezpressiFe and effective. The first method is unquestionably 
ik& most dangerous, sad its results would appear to be acci- 
dental ii^ of many who tried the same path, a few only 
reached the saaie point of exeelleiioe. Success would be 
uncertain, as has so long been the ease with the sister art 
of Poetrj. There seems to be more safety in dinging to 
the dd masters, especially to those of the Tsry earliest £ite, 
assiduously emulating their unalterable truUi and beauty, 
till it becomes a aeeond nature to eye and soul. Next to the 
finest of the old TtaliaBS» for example, the style of the Grer- 
man masters well deserves our studj, mindful that to that 
nation we also beloi^ and that the serious earnestness of 
its«hflffaeter« we, beyond all others, are bound to preserve. 
Thus we might hope to see combined the symbolically, spi- 
ritually beautiful, with the sure method of producing antique 
grace, whence, as from the very being of the art, even 
&ough all knowledge of it were htt, true poefery and science 

^ Whoerer hM liad an opporCvnity of eonsulting the allegorical de- 
signs of the deceased Runge, sketches as they are, will easily see the 
force of this observation, and understand how strange a patii any single 
arUst, though of peculiar genias and lofty aspirations, may be led to 
choose. While at the same time this example, drawn from the erroneous 
bias of so happy a talent, shows the natural result of painting from 
simple hieroglyphics, unguided by unhallowed and historical traditions, 
which alone afford the painter that secure maternal guide, from whose 
directing influence he can never swerve without danger and irretrievable 
injury. — [Overbeck, the celebrated German painter, now residing in 
Rome, appears to be almost an embodiment of all SchlegePs suggestions 
and anticipations ; a consummation in the bringing about of which these 
letters probably have had no inconsiderable share.] 

L 8 


must proceed. The old Grerman style is not only more 
accurate, and skilful in mechanism than the Italian in 
general, but it also adhered longer and more faithfully to 
that wonderful and profoundly true Catholic-Christian sym- 
bolism, whence they drew far more precious treasures than 
were granted to those who suffered their imagination to 
wander into the merely Jewish subjects of the old Testa- 
ment, or digressed still farther into the province of ancient 
Greek mjrthology. 

The Italian schools, indeed, though far superior to 
those of Upper Germany, can scarcely, even in ideal grace, 
claim precedence of those of Lower German art, if we judge 
of its excellence irom the period of its maturity, when 
Wilhelm of Cologne, John Van Eyck, and Hemling* flou- 
rished, and not from later and more degenerate times. We 
should remember, especially, that an artist ought not to seek, 
nor expect to attain, the perfect antique by adopting the 
Egyptian style in the almost image-like position of the feet, 
the scanty draperies, and long narrow half-shut eyes, any 
more than by copying bad designs and actual errors or de- 
fects. These, in truth, are but the indications of a false 
taste, and have no more affinity with the real Christian 
antique than the little esteemed imitative, manner of the old 
Germans. The beauty of early Christian art consists not so 
much in the external parts as in the tranquil, pious spirit 
universally pervading ; and the cultivation of this spirit will 
give inspiration to the painter, guiding his steps to the pure 
neglected source of Christian beauty, till at length a new 
dawn shall break the darkness of the horizon, and shine 
forth in the clearest meridian splendour throughout the com- 
positions of reviving art. 

* This name is now more oommonl j written Memliog. 

^nnctpltis of €otf)it 9ittbittttttrt* 






In the Tears 1804, 1805. 


The spectacle of social life, however varied and interesting 
it may appear for a time, sooner or later becomes fatiguing, 
and we sigh to gaze once more upon the face of nature ; but it 
is impossible anjrwhere to feel more completely shut out from 
the tranquil enjoyment of her beauties than in Paris. The 
first few hot days of spring effectually banish all verdant 
freshness from the gardens and promenades ; and every 
spot, even before the approach of summer, is wrapt in 
clouds of all-enveloping dust. If you think to escape from 
the city in any direction, it follows you pertinaciously for 
hours : noise, dust, and tumult fill the pubUc roads, and the 
numerous villas and maisons de campagne on every side 
give the country the appearance of one vast suburb. Per- 
haps, after a drive of many hours, you may at length reach 
some quiet wood or friendly hill, where you may enjoy a 
little refreshing brightness ; but even there you find none of 
those sublimer beauties for which the heart, long pent within 
city walls, most fondly sighs. 

Paris is situated in a broad open valley, stretching be- 
tween hills and intersected by a river ; the country is occa- 
sionally cheerful and agreeable, but never rich, and some- 
times not even pleasing. 

L 3 


Even the works of art with which Paris abounds fail 
after a time to compensate for this total absence of natural 
charms y and another circumstance makes us more sensibly 
alive to the deficiency: the numerous pictures and statues here 
collected are not» as in most other capitals, surrounded and 
heightened in their effect by the important accessory of fine 
architecture. To me, the sight of a splendid edifice or a 
lovely country is an ever-springing source of pleasure : I 
feel its grandeur more, and love its beauty better, the more 
frequently I behold it ; and in the same manner the continual 
contemplation of a fine building unconsciously elevates a 
susceptible mind, and maintains it in a fit frame for appre- 
ciating the beau^ of other works of arl^ whilst a taste for 
architecture seems indeed to form the basis of every other 
artistic taste. 

The most famous buildings in Paris are all modern, both 
in date and style, and have no decided character, except a 
superficial imitation of antiquity, confined, feeble, and, by 
many ingenious adaptations made to suit every variety of taste. 
The admired fa9ade of the Louvre laay be excellent in its 
kindy but what can be more oat of place than twenty or 
thirty Grecian or Italian columns in a strange land and 
climate, amidst innumerable edifices ccHUfdetely at variance 
with the Greek taste, and where the manners and habits <^ 
the people are no kas entirely difierent ? The incongruity 
is here more than usually glaring, since this facade is at- 
tached to an edifiee which is na^er Ghreek nor Gothic, 
neither old nor new, nothing, in short, except in the highest 
degree irregular and formless. The church of Notre Bame 
presents a sin^e and beautiful exception ; it is in the Gothic 
style, large, and highly decorated. Yet even our admiratioa 
of this fine building is much disturbed, from its standing in 
a mean out-of-the-way part h£ Paris, where it cannot be 
seen to advantage. There is a good approach to the western 
front, but every other part must be laboriously examined, 
the details sought out with difficulty, and connected with 
infinite care and diligence, some portions of the building 
being concealed and others built against. The two towers, 
as is the ease in so many old Giothic cathedrals^ are only 
half erected ; popular dissensions^ the increase of commerce 
directing capital and industry into new channels, and 


finally, tHe Beformation, which introduced quite a new order 
of things, haying interrupted the progress of the work. 

In Paris, too, this interruption may be attributed to an 
early change in the spirit of the times. The size of Notre 
Dame is by no means proportionate to the extent of the 
city. During the first rerolntion the front was injured in 
rarious ways, the exterior being despoiled of its decorations 
and the statues torn down and destroyed. Worse than all 
this is the injury which the interior has sustained, by abso- 
lute mutUation; the clustered pillars supporting the roof 
have been filled in, rounded, and modernised as much as 
possible, so as to give them the appearance of solid circular 
columns. The effect thus produced is completely incon- 
sistent with the plan of the exterior, and such an attempt to 
unite Greek solidity and bulk with the veir incompatible 
features of Gothic architecture, seems pecnuarly devoid of 
taste. An intolerable spirit of persecution in the arts was 
often seen united with that inclination to imitate the false 
antique, which seemed epidemic in the eighteenth century, 
and it is to be feared still (1804) has sufficient influence to 
permit the destruction or defacing of many fine memorials of 
mediaeval art. Notwithstanding these injuries, Notre Dame is 
still the finest building in Paris, a venerable ancestral struc- 
ture, standing alone in the midst of the modem world. 

Entertaining these opinions, and influenced by the feel' 
ing and desires already alluded to, I quitted Paris for a short 
time early in the spring of 1804. 

St. Denis. 

The country round Paris on this side is peculiarly 
dreary, yet there is something in its gloomy, barren aspect 
not entirely without a charm ; and the deep silent melan- 
choly it inspires becomes stronger and more profound in 
^proaching this ancient and now ruined cathedraL Every 
part that could be destroyed without too much labour and 
difficulty has been thrown down ; the naked walls alone are 
left standing, with the massy pillars and the arches that 
re&t upon them. As the doors were opened, a host of jack- 
daws and rooks, the sole inhabitants of the desecrated sanc- 
tuary, took flight, and when the dust they raised in their 
departure had subsided, we saw the uptom graves of the 

L 4 


sovereigns of France, each of which the old verger care- 
fully pointed out, as well as the place where the silver altar 
of Dagobert once stood ; the vacant niches reminded us of 
the old statues of Clovis, Chilp^ric, and Dagobert in the 
Petits Augustins*, which (or at least as much as could be 
saved of them), had been removed thither from St. Denis. 

The spectacle of these ruins transported us far from 
the present day, back to those old times when France was 
governed and possessed by Grermans. Family dissensions, 
and the unnatural union between France and Italy, which 
subsisted during the first French dynasties, at length ter- 
nunated the German dominion ; and French history begins 
properly with Hugh Capet, at a period which at first sight 
appears to have been most prosperous. 

Such it may indeed be considered by those who judge 
only from the outward show and glitter of history ; to me, 
however, the most happy period appears to have been that 
which is least noticed in our pragmatic dissertations, and 
perhaps for that very reason is most worthy of our atten- 
tion. Certainly, France never enjoyed so long a period of 
tranquillity, both at home and abroad, as during the first 
century after Hugh Capet. If it be remembered that the 
origin of romance dates from that century, as well as the 
dawn of French poetry in Provengal song, how glowing a 
picture is presented of the early days of France, blended 
also with many traits of German simplicity and truth ! and, 

• « Numero 9*. Statues s^pulcrales, repr^sentant Clovis I. et la 
relne Clotilde. 

** Ces deux statues formant cariatides, et sculptees dans le sixieme siecle, 
ornaient le portail d'une anciennc ^glise de Corbeil. EUes sont d*au> 
tant plus remarquables qu*elles font yoir les costumes d*boinme et de 
femme en usage a la cour de Clovis. La figure du roi, pos^e debout, 
les cheveux flottans sur les ^paules, et barbue, est vetue de la tunique 
longue, et d'un manteau parfaitement semblable aux vetemens qui Ton 
remarque dans les statues des rois de la premiere, de la seconde, et de la 
troisieme race, 6galement conserve dans ce mus^. • • • * 
Si je considdre ensuite le style du dessin et le gout qui regne dans cette 
sculpture, j*y reconnais les formes^ le travail, et les convenances du temps. 
Ces statues sont longues, minces, roides et serrdes, servant de colonne ou 
le support comme toutes les statues des premiers siides ; telles enfin 
qu*on en voyait avant la revolution aux portails de Tabbaye de Saint 
I>enis, des ^glises cath6drales de Chartres, &c." — Xenoir, Introd, 

[Most of tbe statues from St. Denis appear from tbe catalogue to be 
ooKcA^. — 2Vajif.] 

1804-5.] CATHEDRAX OF ST. DENIS. 153 

without l&ying exclusiye claiin to every thing noble in action 
and sentiment, it may not appear surprising if a great pro- 
portion should prove itself to be of German origin. St. 
Louis, and, at a still later period, the Maid of Orleans, may 
be noticed as touching apparitions, linking their own colder 
era with the enthusiasm of the olden time. 

The effigies of the old French kings, which, after having 
been rescued from the destruction of the cathedral, were 
transferred to the Petits Augustins, are, like other similar 
statues of the middle ages, carved in sandstone, of colossal 
size and completely closed ; they seem better executed than 
many later works of the chisel, for the modems deviate as 
widely from correct principles in the art of sculpture, as in 
every other imitative art. It is however impossible to form 
a correct opinion of them except in their appropriate places 
in the church : they seem, apai*t from the sacred edifice, too 
solitary and unconnected. Statues in Grothic churches 
ought to be considered merely as decorative work, or carving, 
and should be judged of in that connexion. The bas- 
reUefs of the ancients had in the same manner their own 
distinct laws, by no means analogous to those of drawing or 
sculpture. All component parts ought to minister to the 
combined effect of the complete structure ; and as in Gothic 
churches every thing seems straight and slender, rising up- 
wards to the loftiest point, so it is fitting that the decorative 
statues should harmonise with that general character. This 
reason may also account for their universally erect position, 
and even for that meagre, disproportionate length of limb 
which is so remarkable in the statues of the kings, although 
in other respects they are ornamental and perfectly well 
finished. If we imagine a marble figure of antique round- 
ness and strength, in connexion with a slender up-soaring 
Gothic column, we shall immediately feel the incongruity ; 
and although a statue carved in sandstone, cannot of course 
possess the natural roundness and animation of marble, nor 
the same delicacy of outline, yet the magic of the work- 
manship displayed in the close clinging drapery, and the 
genuine simple piety of the countenances, may elevate it far 
above the character of a mere ornament. 

The principles of architecture form the basis of sculpture 
and all other plastic arts; from thence they appeared in 
early times to derive strength and stability, as from their 


BatiTe aoiL This is pecDli«rly ihe caae in Egyptian arelii* 
tectore, and it is ouij by difflenlt and slow degrees that 
flcnlptttre can ever be separated from this original root ; 
yet among the Greeka it early broke kxwe, and developed 
itself alone ; f<^ with theni^ architeetnre^ d^^nerating into a 
symmetry which had no higher aim than to please the eye» 
soon departed from its early symbolic grandeur and severity, 
and Greek acnlptare in consequence rose to a lofty and pe- 
culiar degree of excellence. That of the middle ages, ea 
the contrary, could never be freely divided from Christian 
architecture, nor nnfold itself alone: two reasons occur 
which serve to account for this circumstance, — in the first 
place, decorative fancy is so vital an element in Gothic 
architecture, that the imagination found fall scope in that 
alone, and it seemed tiie less necessary to fill the eye with 
other works; and secondly, colouring was so essential a 
feature in the delineation of those sjrmbolic themes, which 
were held in the highest veneration, that ecclesiastical re- 
presentations designed to stimnlate devotion could only be 
adequaldy expressed by painting; and in the new style, 
originating vrith Christianity, t&t art bad necessarily a 
preponderating influence. 

The old diurch at lEUieiiBS, the city in which the French 
kings were formerly crowned, was also onee richly adorned 
with images of saints; they were placed, as on the front of 
Notre Dame, dose together in regular order, covering a 
blank window. Thron^out all l^ance, however, in the 
Netherlands^ and even in many places on the Rhine, these 
and similar images have been torn down and destroyed ; and 
perhaps the arts have in no respects suffered greater injury 
from the French Bevolutiott than in this particular. The 
diurch at Rheims appears to be of earlier date than that at 
Paris ; the decorations are more diversified, bet rudely exe- 
cuted ; the towers, although they appear to have becm car- 
ried a little higher than those of Notre Dame> are in the 
same unfinished state. 


The route from Ftaris to the Netherlands is m(motonou% 
uncultivated, and little attractive ; indeed, with the excep- 
tion of the old provinces of Burgundy and Normandy, the 






1804-5.] FINE SPEdUBK AT GAXBRAT. 155 

interior of France is not particnlarlj faronred bj nature. 
We easilj understand why her people hare alwajs aimed at 
foreign conquest ; and, indeed, during the last centnrj and a 
half, she has succeeded in annexing the most beautif d1 and 
cultivated portions of Europe to her territories. It seems, 
in fact, doubtful whether the soil in the old prorinces, which 
would require the utmost diligence and labour for its pro* 
per cultiTStion, could produce sufficient to maintain a popu- 
lation, who have never deserved to be numbered among the 
most hard-working and industrious of mankind. The rapid 
increase <^ population, during the early part of French his- 
tory, constrained that people to seek foreign possessions, like 
those innumerable hordes which migrate continually from 
the barren plains of central Asia, in search of more fertile 

In approaching Cambray, my eyes were long fixed upon a 
marveilons object, which I was able to fcdlow along the 
windings of the road, for the space of half an hour. It was 
the spire of a Grothic tower, of such delicate tracery and 
openwork, as to appear transparent ; it stands upon a hitt, 
and is the sole remaining relic of the cathedral, which was 
purchased during the reign of terror as a national property, 
and paid for in assignats ; the marble of the monuments 
and pavement must alone have more than repaid the cost of 

Wonderful style of architecture ! ^Nrii^ing firom ibe 
highest story of the tower, it seems to pierce the douds like 
a transparent obeBsk, or pyramid of open tracery ! more 
pointed and slender than the one, it is less so than the other, 
and formed of slender shafti^ clustering tt^ether, with var 
nous flowers and crockets, it terminates at length in a 
slender spire and finiaL 

The design of most €k)ihic towers is similar, although 
'verr few of them have ever been finished. 

I have a decided predilection for the Gothic style of archi- 
tecture; and when I am so fortunate as to discover any 
monument) however mined or defaced, I examine every 
portion of it with imwearied seal and attention, for it ap- 
pears to me that from a neglect of soeh study the deep 
meaning and peculiar motive of Gothic architecture is seU 
diom folly arrived at 


It unites an extreme delicacy and inconceivable skill in 
mechanical execution, with the grand, the boundless, and 
infinite, concentrated in the idea of an entire Gothic fabric ; a 
rare and trulj beautiful combination of contrasting elements, 
conceived by the power of human intellect, and aiming at 
faultless perfection in the minutest details, as well as in the 
lofty grandeur and comprehensiveness of the general design. 

No art ought ever to be permitted to encroach upon its 
sister arts. The ancient classic monuments at Athens, Psos- 
tum, and Girgenti would undoubtedly, if seen in their 
native clime, excite feelings of veneration, in the same man* 
ner as the feeble designs and gigantic works of Egyptian, 
Persian, or Indian antiquity inspire wonder and astonish- 
ment. But what with us is usually styled Grecian art is 
merely a copy, a soulless imitation of the period when Greek 
art was in its decline, and an agreeable but most unmeaning 
symmetry had replaced that grandeur of soul and expression 
which had too long been lost. 

The Gothic may possibly be styled in the next work on 
architecture the German style, from its having been common 
among all the nations of ancient Germany, and the grandest, 
heretofore called Gothic, edifices in Italy, France, and even 
in Spain, being also the work of German architects. This 
old Teutonic architecture certainly requires some effort of the 
mind to penetrate its unfathomable obscurity. It flourished 
most in the Netherlands, and appears to have attained there 
its highest perfection, scarcely a town in Brabant being 
without one or more remarkable monuments of that art. 

However, the general title of " Gothic Architecture," if 
that great national name be taken in its widest sense, for the 
old Christian and romantic style of the middle ages, from 
Theodoric down to the present time, is decidedly the most 
appropriate, and must ever be retained. I may remark also 
that the apparently arbitrary epithet of Bomantic, applied to 
Mediaeval poetry, so completely expresses the prevalence of 
fancy in that art, that it seems impossible to exchange it for 
any other term equally significant and appropriate. 

The Burgundians, Vandals, and some portion of the peo- 
ple of the Netherlands, having been originally Gk)thic tribes, 
that people may be considered founders of the Christian 
kingdoms of France, southern Germany, Italy, and Spain ; 


whence, extending to the Scandinavian north, they took 
root in, and exercised dominion over, the whole of the south 
of Russia, and the countries of Poland and Hungary. The 
term Gothic is, therefore, historically appropriate to that col- 
lective body of all nations who derive their origin from the 
same root as the Dutch and Grermans. The Groths brought 
into Europe that overwhelming influx of Grerman people 
and Grerman ideas with which the history and social cus- 
toms of the west, as well as the taste and style of its poetry, 
have ever since remained strongly imbued. 

The objections urged by some few critics to the use of the 
term Gothic, arise from an imperfect comprehension of its 
grand and universal signification. It may be possible to 
discover and explain the influence exercised by German 
genius on the works of other countries, but we cannot pos- 
sibly call a style of architecture, which flourished throughout 
all the lands once possessed by the Groths, from the most ex- 
treme east to the farthest west of Christendom, the German, 
as this exclusive epithet would only apply to that German 
father-land which has been separated from the other states 
since the time of King Conrad, and would confine the term to 
boundaries much too limited ; or, on the other hand, to call 
this peculiar style of architecture the Teutonic, would lead 
us too far back into antiquity, yet obscure as regards the art 

The terms " Old Saxon," and " Decorated Norman,** 
seem very appropriately employed in England, as they indi- 
cate two gr^d epochs of the international history of that 
country, but they are not equally well suited to the rest of 
Europe. Old Saxon may, indeed, be applicable to Germany, 
in which country the rise of this peculiar style may be re- 
ferred to the time of the old Saxon emperors ; and also be- 
cause Cologne, in which the most magnificent works of this 
as well as of a later period are to be found, was one of the 
most important towns of old Saxony. Still the epithet is 
too confined to apply to the whole Christian west compre- 
hended under the Roman dynasty, and the greater part of 
which became Grerman through the Grothic conquests. 

No particular examples are needed in support of the as- 
sertion, that the first rude elements of Christian architec- 
ture were of Greek or Roman origin. Still that redundant 
and vigorous fancy, which constituted the peculiar charm 

158 P8nrciFLE8 of goteio abobrbctube. [1804-6. 

t^ Christiaa ecckatartical architeetare, is unqaestionablj 

The rise of this principle, foonded on a peculiar senti- 
ment of nature pervading both architecture and all other 
imitatiye arte, is first found among the Goths, and from 
them it spread graduallj on all aides, its progress and do- 
minion being sul&cientlj attested by the architectural re- 
mains at Bavenna and elsewhere. Of the two epochs of 
Gothic art, one maj properlj be called earlj Clvistian, on 
account of the religious ideas therein developed; and the 
second, termed bj the English Decorated Norman, I 
should rather style BomantiCy because every element of 
vigorous architectural £Emcy then first received its full 

There is a great and striking difference between the aspect 
of the Netherlands and that of the interior of France. The 
former is certainly flat, but the general fertility, the fresh, 
glistening verdure of the well-watered pastures and meadow 
land, everywhere charmingly crowned and intersected hj 
hedges and groves of trees, give the landscape the -air of one 
vast garden. This fertility, however, is not the spontaneous 
growth of nature, but rather the fruit of that human in- 
dustry of which it bears the stamp, and which, when thus 
skilfully applied, almost rises into a science ; the countzy, 
and even the soil, seem metamorphosed and transformed by 
this sedulous cultivation into a beautiful work of art Swit- 
zerland affords a similar and almost more charming example 
of human industry triumphing over the disadvantages of an 
unfavourable, if not barren soiL The character of the Ger- 
man race seems peculiarly disposed to this practical industry, 
the cause of which may probably be discovered in the cir- 
cumstances of their ealiest histoxy. 

Let it not be supposed that this attention to the minutle 
of art, this delicate and ingenious skill, is practised entirdy 
without reference to higher objecta. The rich countries of 
the south are not exclusively &vourable to the development 
of the arts. Nature, in them, yields her stores^ as it were, 
unasked, and men become indolent and uninventive : but, 

1804-5.] fiFSGDfKNS AT BRUSSBLS. 159 

ia Ae colder norihy where even the neceasitieB of life must 
be obtained with toil apd labour, everything is the result 
of sdeatific iadiistryy £ar life itself then becomes artifidal, 
and must trust to skill and invention for its preservation 
and support Northern Europe, poor in soil, has ever been 
the favourite faomiB of science and the arts ; loxuriant Asia 
was, indeed, the mother-land of song, but she must yield the 
pahn of art to her younger daughter. On a similar prin- 
ciple, perhaps, £^gypt» which in some respects at least was 
little favoured by nature, owed her superiority to industry 
and science, and attained a fiir higher degree of perfecdim in 
the imitative arts than dther Persia or Asia. 

In northern Europe the predilection for art — imitating, 
adorning everything with universal and unbounded influ- 
ences — seems almost, like another nature, the indigenous 
growth of the soil. Almost every branch of industry and 
science flourished in the Netherlands, because, as a firee 
country, standing in a happy union with the Grerman em- 
pire, it had its own peculiar existence and national character. 
The difierenoe of language in Germany and the Netherlands 
certainly, in some measure, estranged them. Yet we con- 
tinually recognise in the latter traces of its affinity with 
Grermany. The countenances, in the country more espe- 
cially, are not like those we generally picture to ourselves, 
the idea of which we imbibe from the Flemish figures por- 
trayed by later and often very mannered artists ; they are, 
on the CMitrary, firm, strongly marked, and angular, but 
benevolent and candid in expression, the hair generally 

In towns, wbere the original race has mixed more with 
foreigners, we certainly find the architype of those burly 
Flemish figures — for the intermixture of race is rarely fa- 
vourable to beauty. 

In the great market-place at Brussels stands the town- 
house, a beautiful Grothic building: the slender tower is 
decorated at the summit with a gilded figure of the Arch- 
angel St Michael and the Dragon. The Kinlenberg-house 
is also standing, with the very balcony from which Alva 
witnessed the execution of Egmont, 

The cathedral church of St Gudule claims especial notice. 
It is built, like (xothic churches in general, in tiie most con- 


spicuous part of the city. The three-fold western entrance 
is flanked bj two lofty towers ; the choir and high altar face 
the east. The towers are not so much remarkable from their 
decorations as, from their structure, appearing to be joined 
together as it were, and to spring up from a Ime of slender 
pinnacles rising in steps one above the other. The side 
buttresses also, of this body of the building, are terminated 
by ornamented, crocketed-pinnacles, shooting upwards* Both 
of the western towers are unfinished, and the interior was so 
completely destroyed during the war, that it cannot be restored 
without entire rebuilding. A large painted glass window on 
the western side represents the Last Judgment, in a style 
rarely equalled even in Grothic churches ; the pulpit is of 
carved wood, executed with wonderful skill. The lower 
part represents the Fall of IVIan, and above is the blessed 
Virgin, with the Infant Christ in her arms, and wearing a 
crown of stars. The body of this wonderful creation repre- 
sents the tree, the bending form of Adam helps to support 
the pulpit. Critics may not, perhaps, approve of everything 
introduced into the execution, but the admirable skill of the 
carving is truly marvellous. Works of the utmost delicacy, ex- 
ecuted either in wood or bronze, are appropriately introduced 
into the decoration of Gothic churches. Marble is incongruous 
and breaks the harmony of the whole, whether it be em- 
ployed for monuments, statues, or the pilasters supporting 
altars or tombs. The use of marble, in many old Italian 
churches, as the ordinary building material, occasioned a 
very peculiar modification of the Gothic style, which may be 
termed the Italian Gothic, and of which the cathedral church 
at Siena affords the purest example ; that at Florence is, on 
the other hand, too much like the Grothic, and Milan cathedral 
is also decidedly in imitation of the German style. The most 
striking characteristic of these old marble churches, is a 
manifest struggle to attain and display the rich exuberance 
of fancy which so remarkably distinguishes Gothic architect 
ture, it being impossible to carry skill and delicacy of work- 
manship to the same degree of perfection in marble as in the 
soft sandstone of the north. These churches are also remark- 
able from the intermixture of variegated marbles disposed in 
mosaic, and a general inclination to the employment of 
mosaic in decorations ; for the splendid borderings, the fine 


tesselated pavement and lofltj vaulting of the arch, as in the 
chorch of St. Mark at Venice, the dome of Siena cathedral, 
and other Italian churches. 

Allegorical representations of the ^^ Last Judgment," the 
«* Fall of Man," and the " Victory of Faith," were often 
placed in the most conspicuous parts of the church : — at 
the entrance, in the nave or pulpit *, and when thus placed 
are not to be considered merely as ornaments. Symbolism f 
was the grand motive and object of the early artists, and it 
was undoubtedly their intention to make the visible structure 
of the material church, in all its various parts and proportions, 
symbolic of the spiritual church of Chnst as it exists upon 
earth, sometimes militant and sometimes triumphant. But 
what language can adequately describe the magic effect of 
such paintings on glass as that in St. Gudule above mentioned, 
when viewed in a favourable light, neither too feeble, nor too 
dazzlingly bright ! It seems like a heavenly tissue of gems 
and crystals, like the bright varying surface of a sea of fiery 
flowers, where all the mysteries of light and colour float before 
our eyes in vivid combinations of ever-varying radiance. 

This majestic work of art has been displaced in order to 
make way for the necessary repairs and alterations, and it 
will probably wander into England, whither the principal 
glass paintings of St. Denis have already been removed. 


The days are past in which Louvain alone employed 4000, 
Mechlin 3000, and Ghent 40,000 looms, while other trades 
and manufactures flourished in equal proportion. Trade and 
industry had then, as now in England, their seat in Germany, 
and more particularly in the Netherlands. Machiavelli 
gives a surprising and almost incredible description of the 
magnificent and prosperous condition of Holland under 
Maximilian. Brabant is also a richly favoured land, and the 

* Or on the Rood-screen, dividing the chancel from the body of the 
church. — See Durandus, Introductory Essay, p. 103. 

t Allegory employs fictitious things and personages to shadow out the 
truth : Symbolism uses real personages and real actions [and real things] 
as symbols of the truth. British Critic, No. LXV. p. 121. A type is 
a symbol intended from the first ; a figure is a symbol not discovered till 
after the thing figuiatiTe has had a being. -^Dur, InU E$tMf_ p. 25. 



traces of former prosperity, and the numerous monuments of 
ancient art^ make it highly interesting to a reflecting traveller. 
The town of Louvain possesses in its majestic Town-house 
a valuable monument of Gothic architecture. The effect of 
this building struck me as peculiarly fine, when seen in the 
first grey light of morning : I have often thought that the 
outline of any large building rises from the sombre back- 
ground with more dear and imposing migesty on a clear nighty 
or in the evening twilight. This edifice is particularly dis- 
tinguished by the extreme delicacy of the lavish decorations, 
and their beautiful simplicity anci S3rmmetry. It is erroneous 
to imagine that these latter properties are incompatible with 
the rich diversity of Grothic architecture. It is true that in 
some buildings the symmetry is destroyed by intentional 
irregularities, as in Strasburg cathedral for example, but 
that is quite an exception to the general practice. In other 
Gothic buildings a severe reguliuity and uniformity is ob- 
served, and the strictest harmony of design may be traced 
throughout the copious and luxuriant decorations. From its 
beauty of proportion and exquisite 83rmmetry, the Town- 
house of Louvain holds as high a place among buildings of 
small or moderate dimensions, as die cathedral of Ck>logne 
among the largest Ciothic edifices. Instances of intentional 
neglect of symmetrical proportion are rare exceptions ; for 
Grothic architecture is no less governed by laws of symmetry 
than that of the Greeks, although its redundant ornament 
and varied decorations cannot be restricted within the narrow 
limits of classic uniformity. The figures on the fa9ade of the 
town-house of Louvain, at least one hundred in number, have 
all been thrown down, and this fine work of art is now ex- 
tremely injured and defaced ; the number of vacant niches 
sufficiently attests its former splendour. 

The country round Liege is rich, and the city itself finely 
situated, but frightfully built; and even the inhabitants, 
their language, manners, and features, convey an unfavour- 
able impression. We fancy ourselves already on a foreign 
soil, and seem to be again in France, yet the Walloon fVench 
is extremely different from the original language of that 


country. This is attributed to the great colonies of Spaniards 
and Indians planted here by Charles Y. The manner in 
which the characteristics of the French, Grennany and Flemish 
here intermingle, might afford material for a learned disqui- 
sition on ancient population and emigration. The famous 
Grodfrey of Boulogne, leader of the first crusades, was a native 
of this boundary land of France and Germany, and we are 
told that he spoke both languages with facinty, and was 
therefore the better fitted to maintain harmony between the 
discordant feelings of the French and Crerman nobles. The 
cathedral at Liege has been very much injured, particularly 
since the lead of the roof was removed by robbers. Its 
destruction, however, occasioned but little k^ to art, if the 
engraving I saw of it, and the opinion of several connoisseurs 
of good taste and judgment, may be relied upon. Bad or in- 
different works are to be found in every age and period of 
Grothic, as well as of Grecian art ; but it is to be desired that 
even bad monuments of antiquity should be preserved, rather 
than for all to be left to the discretion of individuaJs, who 
may possibly have interested motives for depreciating their 

One of the most striking peculiarities of the Walloon race 
is an extraordinary and almost extravagant passion for 
music, which leads them to form imions and clubs, for the 
cultivation of that science : their music meetings and trials 
of skill are r^arded as festivals by the rest of the people, 
who flock to them and decide on the relative merits of the 
performances with all the enthusiasm of the ancient Greeks. 
Traces of this musical taste of the Liegois are to be found 
early in the middle ages. 

IHderot was a native of liege ; though the French lan- 
guage is spoken here, it cannot be considered as a part of 
France. A slightly different impulse, an accidental turn of 
fate, might have led this city, which as a border town had 
liberty of choice, to adopt the Grerman language, and become 
a Grerman dependency; its genius and character appear more 
in harmony with that of de Grerman people, and certainly 
it could scarcely have seemed so misplaced then as it now 
appears to be in France. 

M 2 



Hills, meadows, and glassy streams, the natural features 
of Grermany, invest the neighbourhood of Aix-la-Chapelle 
with softness and beauty ; the breeze of the forest murmurs 
deliciously, by inviting to repose and meditation. The hill 
near Aiz, on which the hot and cold springs are found, 
is peculiarly charming : little tranquil lakes are seen on its 
summit, among which it is delightful to wander on a sultry 
summer's day. The ruins of Frankenberg lie a little further 
on, surrounded by springs of water ; this castle, which dates 
from the period of Charlemagne, is now in ruins ; swans 
float on the calm waters, and we saw a child sitting near a 
fountain, reading one of those books of fairy tales, in which 
the last lingering remnant of our early poetry still survives. 

Aix-la-Chapelle was once the favourite residence of the 
great Charlemagne, whose deeply planned schemes and poli- 
tical arrangements have scarcely yet ceased to operate* It 
seems surprising that he should have selected for his favourite 
castles and places of abode spots on the Rhine only, as at 
Aix-la-Chapelle, Nimeguen, and Ingelheim. Yet we learn 
from history, that the language of the court, during the early 
French dynasties, was German ; the princes loved Germany, 
and were themselves of German extraction, and it is from 
considering Charlemagne only as a monarch of France, who 
made extensive conquests beyond the limits of that empire, 
that his having placed his capital so completely on the fron^- 
"tier now appears so surprising. The war with Saxony may 
have induced him to establish himself in that vicinity, but 
he was probably influenced in his selection by many simple 
motives as well as by political reasons. It certainly should 
be remembered that Charlemagne's ancestors first governed 
Austrasia, and probably considered it as the peculiar inhe- 
vritance of their house and kingdom. Neustria, Aquitaine, 
and the interior of France were a comparatively recent 

In the cathedral at Aix lie the remains of Charlemagne, 
yet, as is usual, little or nothing is now standing of the work 
of his clever architect Gerhard ; the choir belongs to a later 
period, and contains little either to censure or admire. The 
numerous arched windows are long, narrow, and but little 
ornamented ; crowded together, and only separated by massive 


buttresses, they betray the period when Gothic architecture 
was abeady in its decline. The nave, or octagon, stands on the 
spot where Charlemagne had erected the chapel after which 
the city was named, and contains his tomb.* The front of 
the gallery, running round the octagon, is adorned with por* 
phjry columns, originally thirty-two in number, brought 
from the old church of St. Gereon at Col<^e, to which they 
had been presented by the Empress Helena, mother of Con. 
stantine the Great. It was usual, both in Italy and Greece, 
to employ fragments of heathen temples in the decoration of 
Christian churches. These columns are now (1804) in 
Paris f: one which remained at Cologne was destroyed 
during the war. 

Chnstian architecture, of the earliest period, is derived, 
at least in its isolated elements, from the later style of classic 
art. After the time of Constantine the influence of Chris- 
tianity brought new ideas into action, and gave a new intention 
to architecture, the influence of which extended throughout 
the entire mediaeval epoch, so that the eastern style of that age 
cannot be classed with Greek antiquity, but belongs rather 
to the new order of things : this separation was undoubtedly 
occasioned by religion, and for the same reason the Latin 
Christian rhymes of that period must no longer be classed 
with ancient literature. Yet long after the first compara- 
tively insignificant commencement, many new and peculiar 
features i4>peared in Gothic architecture. To refer all the 
wonders of old Teutonic art to that primal origin alone 
would be scarcely less unreasonable than to consider the 
Leonine verses of Latin poets the source of the highest 
chefs'd^(Buvre of modem poetry of Dante and Calderon, 
though in these verses we certainly trace the first appear- 
ance of rhymed terminations. 

The natives of Aix are lively and animated, quite of the 
old French race. The German here spoken is peculiarly 
feeble, and uttered in a monotonous cadence, which is far 
from agreeable to strangers ; the same may be said of Co- 
logne ; it seems rather like a commencement of the Lower 
German dialect, but is more properly a combination of high 

* The octagon is built after the church of the Holy Sepulchre at 
Jenitalem, with the tomb of Cbarlenuigne in the centre, 
t They were returned at the peace. — TVant, 

K S 


and low Grerman, characterised chiefly bjr roughness and a 
want of refinement. When these dialects are more inti- 
mately blended and united, as in the centre of Germany, 
they form the true Grerman now spoken. This dialect, 
therefore, unformed as it is, may not prove entirely unworthy 
the attention of philologists. The Cologne dialect is clearly 
to be traced in one of the oldest Grerman poems now exist- 
ing — the ^ Eulogium of St Anno.** Many Latin words are 
found in it, although so mutilated and abbreviated, as 
scarcely to be recognised. The intercourse carried on with 
Holland, and the constant influx of strangers, in so populous 
a trading town, would naturally lead to many innovations in 
the language. The groundwork was probably Walloon, for 
the natives of Upper Grermany are unquestionably of that 
stock ; but the language of Cologne, the features, aspect and 
character of the people, are certainly old Saxon, and this is 
still more strikingly the case at Bonn. At Coblentz, on the 
c6ntrary, the light, lively, French temperament is every- 
where apparent : the line of demarcation between the French 
and old Saxon ought probably to be fixed at some point 
between these two cities. 


The little church in this town is of early Grothic archi- 
tecture ; the chief entrance of one door only, with a single 
heavy square tower, which is however richly and beautifully 
decorated. The spire has been taken down, having been 
seriously injured by the effects of the weather, and the tower 
in consequence has rather the character of a heavy castle- 
tower than of the tall grown church-spire shooting up from 
amid open tracery and pinnacles, according to the mode of 
construction invariably adopted in the most delicately- 
finished Gothic edifices. 

Low, heavy towers, such as are occasionally seen in old 
churches, deserve to be regarded with some attention in an 
investigation of th^ origin of Gothic architecture : they are 
sometimes even crowned with battlements, like old Grerman 
fortresses, and I am persuaded that this is no arbitrary re- 
semblance, or casual similarity, but an intentional imitation 
of those ancient venerable piles. It is customary to derive 


Grothic towers from those of mosques, though in fact there 
is in general but little similarity between them, and the 
hypothesis of the Arabic origin of the Grothic style has 
aLready been proved to be completely fallacious. Indeed, 
none of the old Spanish and Sicilian buildings of which we 
have any description, and which are known from history to 
have been the work of Moorish architects, are by any means 
in accordance with the principles of church architecture, 
nor have they anything in common with Gothic edifices, 
except the extreme richness of their decorative ornaments. 
The minarets of the mosques are necessarily on the eastern 
side, because from them the Mahomedans were summoned 
to public prayer. The church towers of western architecture 
are designed for the bells, which from thence ring forth 
with majestic solemn sound, bidding all Christian worship- 
pers to prepare to join in the services of their church ; and 
how greatly do the towers of Christian Gothic art, developed 
and carried up to the highest and sharpest point, surpass in 
grandeur the low Moorish minarets ! Even were the points 
of resemblance more striking, they would scarcely suffice 
to prove that both Arabic and Grothic art rose from the same 
origin. The Arabs are still in the habit of adopting what- 
ever they think suitable in Syrian or Egyptian, as well as 
in Greek or Roman buildings, only making everything in 
their mosques accord with their own customs and the exi- 
gencies of their religious worship : this does not conduce to 
very high perfection in art. Fancy was the predominating 
element in medieval poetry and architecture, both in the 
eastern and western portions of Europe, and this may ac« 
count for a certain uniformity between them both, though 
neither can be properly said to have borrowed from the 
other. Many great and essential differences are apparent 
between Christian and eastern art, as well as between our 
high romantic poetry and Arabic fieibles, or Persian songs of 

Neusz stood formerly on the edge of the Rhine ; it is now 
at least a quarter of an hour's distance from its bank. This 
beautiful river has in many instances thus altered its course ; 
changes which, notwithstanding their importance, are less 
carefully chronicled than the follies of men, who have long 
since passed away and left no other trace of their existenee» 

M 4 


Could we stand but for a moment on the old borders of the 
Rhine, recalling that early period when the first German 
settlement was made upon its banks, and along the shore of 
the Danube also, under what a different aspect would the 
manners and customs, the old institutions and legislature of 
our German ancestors appear to us, free from the perverted 
and frequently false criticisms which often contribute to ob- 
scure the already mutilated and imperfect records of history. 


The gallery of paintings* in this town contains many pic- 
tures of great value, but the Hall of Rubens f seems to demand 
our especial notice ; nor can we elsewhere form a correct 
opinion of this master's genius. Those who wish to judge him 
impartially should not trust entirely to his most famous paint- 
ings, which, if considered as examples of severe grandeur 
in art, are not entitled to unqualified praise ; the measure 
of their fame was decreed to them at a period when, even 
in Italy, true artistic taste was rarely found, and the same 
mannerism and prejudice there prevuled by which Rubens 
was himself seduced from the right path. Still talents so 
remarkable, and such extraordinary vigour of intellect must, 
even when erroneously directed, leave traces of the master 
mind sufficiently decisive to distinguish the natural impulses 
of genius from the injurious influences exercised by the spirit 
of the time, or other extraneous disadvantages. 

Rubens appears to unite in his compositions the various 
defects of the Italian schools, both of his own time and the 
period immediately preceding, the unnatural exaggeration 
and mannerism of Michelangelo's school, the negligent fri- 
volity of the hasty naturalisti, the struggle of mere colourists 
to produce dramatic effect, nay, even the arbitrary and un- 
fortunate allegories of the eclectics : still his extraordinaiy 
genius prevails, and the vigour and richness of his creations 
far outweigh the various faults imbibed ^om contemporary 
painters. The imitation of foreign masters is so dangerous 
an error, that even genius is cramped and injured by its 

• Now removed to Munich. — Trans, 

t See Treatise on ** Paintings in Paris and the Netherlands,'" antr^ 
page 129. 

1 804-6.] PU8SELD0RF. — RUBENS. 169 

adoption. How far higher might Bubens have soared if, 
instead of copying the ahready corrupt and degenerate taste 
of the Italians, he had chosen to form himself on the model 
of his native Netherlands, on Van Eyck, for example, so rich 
in art, yet true to nature, with others equal to him in genius ! 
How would their correct and beautiful style have been 
heightened and embellished by his brilliant colouring, and 
by that redundant fancy which, bewildered in the false 
paths he had selected, soon became utterly lost ! The worst 
feature in the system of copying foreign art is, that the 
period selected for imitation usually proves to be that in 
which the art is already on its decline, and has degenerated 
from its high standard of excellence, even in the country 
chosen as a pattern. These modem artists expend much 
anxious labour in copying the productions of a degenerate 
time, to which they give the name of *' classical," but which 
the ancient Greeks would have rejected and despised. To 
attempt to engraft the genius of foreign nations upon our own 
is indeed a most dangerous experiment. National art and 
taste are infallibly destroyed, and foreign excellence rarely, 
if ever, attained. The justness of these remarks as applied 
to the imitative system in painting must be evident, and 
the inconsistency to which it leads, subversive of all national 
cbaracteristicfl^ is no less sensibly felt in architecture. 
Every nation, country, and climate should have architecture 
suited to its peculiar requirements. How is it possible to 
wander agreeably in open antique colonnades, under our 
northern sky, or to walk abroad, clad in airy classical robes ? 
The form of our buildings rests, like our social customs and 
ordinary habiliments, on natural causes, the variations of 
temperature, and other similar influences, and the destructive 
consequences of disregarding these must be apparent to any 
one at all versed in the history of the arts and social life, or 
who has ever studied their reciprocal influence with atten- 

In some of Rubens's paintings his better nature is seen 
almost without any tinge of mannerism ; as, for instance, in 
his own portrait with that of his first wife sitting in an ar- 
bour* ; in his profound yet animated portrait of a Franciscan 

• No. 261. IV. Saal Pioacothek, Munich. 


monk*, the superior of the order ; in a Madonna surrounded 
bj angels and wreaths of flowers, and in some few pictures 
besides. The Madonna was not perhaps originally so much 
mannered as it now appears ; the cinnabar, which is so freely 
used, must have been much less glaring before the other tints 
had lost their brightness. 


Foreigners are rarely pleased with this old town ; nor is it 
possible that a great city fallen to decay should ever convey 
a pleasing impression. Yet it certainly contains many beau- 
tiful and spacious squares, or such as might with trifling 
alteration be made ornamental ; the finest and most important 
buildings are good, well situated, and severe in design. 
Flying tourists frequently blame the construction of the 
towns through which they pass, without duly considering 
the exigencies of the locality. The streets of Cologne, those 
especially which run down to the river, are narrow, but it is 
beoiuse trade and commerce have occasioned the crowding 
of that particular part, and besides the violence of the Rhine 
winds, in spring and autumn, would make very broad streets 
inconvenient and unsuitable. 

The city is splendidly situated ; rising in the form of an 
amphitheatre, from the banks of the Rhine, it makes a cres- 
cent contained within the extent of one short hour's walk. 
Gardens are interspersed within the walls of the town, and 
the beautiful promenades on the inner and outer walls, and 
the various eminences on which the city is built, partially 
compensate for the deficiency of country walks in the vi- 
cinity, and an uninteresting landscape varied only by the 
distant Sieben-Grebirge. Yet, whether CJologne be regarded 
with favour or disapprobation by the votaries of modem 
fashion, to all lovers of art and of antiquities it is one of 
the most interesting and instructive towns in Germany. 

The ancient monuments in this city belong to many 
different epochs. In one part we see a Roman tower, and 
the remains of a Roman wall, built of regularly hewn 
stones of diflerent forms, and of varied colour, apparently 

• Kg. 281. S. Munich. 


designed for ornament. These antique relics probably once 
formed part of a small temple ; they are firmly cemented 
together in the manner usually practised by that, in every 
thing, extraordinary people. There stood the capitol, the 
scene of so many different events under the Cfldsars, and 
the Naumachium from whence, up to the mountains of the 
Eiselgebirge, mined aqueducts extend in every direction. 
The foundations of the piers where Constantine's stone 
bridge once stood, still remain, and may be seen when the 
river falls unusually low. Here also is the old abbey-church 
of St. Mary (Margreten, Ste. Marie des Degr^), the choir 
of which belongs to the time of Charlemagne, and contains 
an effigy of Plectrudis, wife of Pepin d'Heristal, the grand- 
father of Charlemagne, of very early date. Here also is the 
unfinished and massive tower of St. Greorge, commenced by 
St. Anno in the eleventh centmry, with no very peaceable 
intentions ; it then stood close to the city gate, but is now 
quite within the walls. Many other remarkable monuments, 
belonging to nearly every epoch of the middle ages, might 
be mentioned. 

Cologne, under the Romans, was in fact the capital of 
their important Germania Secunda, and of equal consequence 
in the subsequent kingdom of Austrasia. In the time of 
Otho the Great, it became a powerful spiritual principality, 
one of the wealthiest of the Hanse Towns, and the seat of 
a famous university, to which, in the middle ages, men 
of genius resorted from all parts of the world. Snorro 
Storleson, who collected the northern Sagas of the Edda, 
came hither from his distant island, and became afterwards 
principal of the then flourishing free states of Scandinavia. 
Hither also came St. Thomas Aquinas from Naples, when 
at the age of twenty he quitted his noble family and connex- 
ions, determined to devote himself to a spiritual life. Every 
part of this old city is rich in interesting associations, though 
the effects of the Reformation, and subsequent changes and 
the general decline of Germany, have robbed it of much 
of its original grandeur. It has now, like most other towns 
on the left bank of the Rhine, become the prey of the French. 
The number of monuments of Gothic architecture here 
existing is almost unparalleled. We find noble edifices, 
illustrating not only the grand progressive steps of the art> 


but also marking each important varietj or modification 
from the first period when it resembled the Greek Christian 
style, to the latest, when it began to lose itself in the pompous, 
overloaded manner of the Spanish Jesuits, Besides the 
churches, there are many private houses of the same date, 
in good preservation, and very similar in style to the old 
Gothic, and many of those usually called Templar houses, 
from the prevailing, but not always correct, idea of their 
having been the residences of the Knights Templars. A 
skilful investigator might here gain abundant information 
concerning the inferior portion of Grothic art ; its profound 
scientific knowledge, and wonderful mechanical skill.* 
Should it be possible to complete a new history of Gothic 
architecture before the barbarism and covetousness which 
now prevail have completely desecrated all its ancient me- 
morials, this town alone contains materials almost sufficient 
for the purpose. The antiquities of other cities are chiefiy 
isolated remains, and their proper connexion can scarcely 
be traced or understood. 

The cathedral stands pre-eminent amongst all these monu- 
ments, and were it completed, Gothic art might boast of 
having produced a giant work, worthy of rivalling the proud« 
est edifices of ancient or modem Rome. A third part only 
of the body of the church, and half of one tower, are yet 
completed, without the central lantern or the transepts, 
which, when erected, will give the form of a perfect cross. 
Yet, even thus unfinished, it far exceeds in grandeur of con« 
ception and beauty of style the most glorious works to be seen • 
elsewhere. Conrad Hochstetten, whose daring mind raised 
more than one rival to cope with the dreaded Frederic the 
Second, conceived this mighty design. The ground plan of 
the unknown architect, finished even to the very minutias of 
decorations, is still in existence, j* The building was begun in 
the year 1248, and the choir finished and consecrated in 1322. 

* The erudite Canon Wallraff has done our age great service, by 
directing public attention to the noble remains in many old towns on the 
Rhine, and to the medisval antiquities of Cologne. In my first exa- 
mination of these treasures 1 was myself extremely indebted to his 
friendly escort and learned conversation. 

t Since that time Boisser^*s grand work has appeared, worthy in in- 
dustry and skill of the noble cathedral which it describes, and published 


The grandeur of this surprising and colossal fragment 
excites universal wonder and admiration ; and one glance at 
the immense height of the choir fills every beholder with 
astonishment. But what is most striking to those who have 
had an opportunity of observing with attention many other 
monuments of Grothic architecture, is the beauty of its deco* 
rations, the symmetry of its proportions, and the air of light- 
ness these give to the massy fabric. Every one who has any 
feeling will be conscious of this impression, but it is impos- 
sible to define or explain more particularly in what this feel- 
ing consists. Actual measurements, and comparison with 
other buildings of the same style, can alone furnish a clue to 
the mystery of those proportions, the efiect of which is so 
striking to every person of refined taste. It is certain that 
the finest Gothic churches, compared with this, frequently 
appear either rude and clumsy, or deficient in expression, and 
overloaded with trifiing decorations. The Town-house at 
Louvain, however, although of infinitely smaller dimensions, 
may still bear comparison with it in the noble unity and 
harmony of its various parts. 

The general design of the cathedral, like most other 
Gothic and old Grerman churches, is according to the pri- 
mitive style of early Christian architecture, but decorated 
and developed with the highest artistic skilL The Latin 
cross terminates in the choir, towards the east, in a semi- 
circular apse. Two lofty towers surmount the triple western 
doors, and the transepts will furnish two side-entrances, to- 
wards the other points of the compass. A cupola will be 
raised above the lofty tomb of the three kings, which is to 
stand in the centre, but is not yet commenced. The tower 
is a splendid structure, formed of innumerable slender pil- 
lars, arched windows, and crocketed pinnacles, ever rising 
higher, as if actually springing one from the other ; it is to 
be five stories in height, the loftiest stage surmounted by a 
slender obelisk of open ti-acery, transparent tendrils, and 
crockets, rising at length into a finial. Two stages only 
are as yet completed. A tower like this, proudly springing 
heavenwards, in the midst of such profusion of carving, 

with the design of throwing fuJl light upon the subject and on Gothic 
architecture in general, the first dawn of which h alone noticed in these 


Bculpture, and decoration, seems almost like some incom- 
parable production of the vegetable kingdom ; while the nu- 
merous, wide-spreading, flying buttresses, with their arches, 
decorations, crockets, finials, and pinnacles, resemble a forest. 
The Gothic pillars in the interior have not unaptly been 
compared to a lofty avenue of trees ; each, instead of appear- 
ing like one single pillar, seems rather an interweaving of 
numerous smaller shafts, a slight and inconspicuous projecting 
moulding alone indicating the pedestal. The high aspiring 
shaft and simple capital, formed of vine-leaves, or an imita- 
tion of some other natural foliage, unfold into a pointed and 
segmental arch. These columns have been also compared to 
natural basaltic pillars; and the lofty vaulted arch might 
almost be likened to the jet of a mighty fountain, supposing 
the stream of descending water to be of equal volume with 
that which is thrown up. And if the exterior, with its 
countless towers and pinnacles^ appears at a distance not 
unlike a forest, the whole prodigious structure, on a nearer 
approach, looks like some magnificent natural crystallisa- 
tion. It is, in a word, the wonder-work of art ; and, from 
the inconceivable abundance of its decorations, seems to vie 
with the inexhaustible variety of nature herself. This is 
just the impression it leaves upon the mind; and inscru- 
tably rich as are the interwoven forms of organised nature, 
an architectural structure like that under consideration 
seems scarcely less vast and inconceivable. Ever tending 
heavenwards, as it soars higher and higher decorative forms, 
ever more and more delicately finished, seem to spring in 
succession from the lower and less ornamental portions. Yet 
all are, almost universally, borrowed from vegetable nature : 
the forms of plants bearing no distinct reference to any neces- 
sary object, the idea of their peculiar design and utility is not 
directly awakened in the mind. Animal forms, on the con- 
trary, immediately suggest the object and office for which they 
were framed. Besides, setting aside this circumstance, they 
are far less beautiful than leaves or flowers, and hence the 
actual growth of the plant, that loveliest ornament of nature, 
with the queenlike rose crowning the whole, has been adopted 
as the type of nearly every ornament framed by human art. 

This noble work, considered in an architectural point of 
view, affords an example of all the beauties of the second 


floriated Grothic style. The same figures of the triangle and 
the square, the circle and the qaatrefoil, fonn the ground- 
work of all those decorations, which, as in the early Christian, 
are introduced with a more profound attention to the scien- 
tific structure of the building. But these no longer appear 
in naked simplicity and geometrical exactness ; they are all 
veiled with clustering foliage and the luxuriance of vege- 
table life : as in the enamelled carpet of spring, we cannot, 
amid its verdant productions, clearly discern the precise 
geometrical symmetry of each isolated form, but see all 
bloom and unfold their beauty together, in one general glow 
of life and immortality ! The very existence of Gothic ar- 
chitecture seems bound up with the luxuriance of its forms 
and floriation. Hence the unvaried repetition of the same 
decorations, their plant-like similarity, and the deeply ex- 
pressive, yet tranquil mystery, the joyous loveliness and 
animation, which fill every beholder with reverence and ad- 
miration. The symbolism of Gothic architecture is, indeed, 
of the highest oraer ; that of painting appears feeble in com- 
parison with it, and its allusions to divinity embarrassed and 
uncertain. Architecture, on the contrary, by its imitation of 
the beauties of nature, brings the idea of the Divinity palpably 
before our minds, even without any direct allusion to the 
mysteries of Christianity. Christian faith and hope had, 
however, no trifling influence on the development of eccle- 
siastical architecture* 

A woriL so gigantic as the Cologne cathedral must surpass 
all power of description. I pass on, therefore, to the consi- 
deration of the other old churches in Cologne, as best illus- 
trating the origin and progress of the Grothic style. 

I have already remarked that there are two distinct epochs 
in ecclesiastical architecture : the earlier, termed Byzantine, 
from its resemblance to the Greek style ; and the later, pe- 
culiarly German, and incomparably more skilful in execu- 
tion, which was spoken of in the description of the cathedraL 
Many strongly marked varieties are found in each branch ; 
as, for instance, the tower of St. Stephen's at Vienna, and 
the cathedral at Strasburg, both belonging to the later pe- 
riod, and both, more especially the latter, having many va- 
rieties. The Byzantine is unquestionably the earliest in 
date; but both styles at length melt completely into each 


Other; no new style ever becomes predominant at once, 
in some instances it is followed up to a certain point only, 
though in others it may be already adopted entire. Acon- 
sideration of the expense may also have led to the continued 
employment of the older manner, in works not designed for 

Grothic architecture is the style of building best adapted to 
a northern climate and a colder zone, and its origin and pro- 
gress coincides with the development of the appropriate 
symbolism of the Christian church ; nor was the material 
employed without its influence ; the inferior beauty of sand- 
stone, as compared with marble, occasioned an ambitious 
struggle for decoration, which led to a higher degree of ex- 
cellence in tracery and ornaments than would have been 
attainable in any harder material. These simple reasons 
sufficiently elucidate all the peculiarities of Gothic architec- 
ture. I shall attempt to trace and illustrate their influence, 
by describing a few old churches in the early Byzantine 

The most remarkable and beautiful of this class at Co- 
logne are the churches of St. Grereon, and the Twelve Apo- 
stles (St Aposteln). Both are in rather elevated situations, 
and their effect very fine. I shall here take an opportunity 
of mentioning, that from the walk inside the walls, and the 
crane on the cathedral tower, all the most beautiful churches 
may be seen at difierent points of view and to great advan- 
tage. The finest view of the city is from the opposite bank 
of the river, from which it appears in the form of a crescent, 
adorned with many beautiful churches and crowned by an 
ancient massive citadel. The cathedral is a conspicuous 
object, and its situation, on a lofty eminence, commanding 
an extensive prospect, very grand.* It is to be lamented 
that this fine position is almost neutralised by the crowds of 
inferior buildings that surround it. About forty years since 
the altar-screen was broken down and destroyed, in order 
to make way for an Italian altar-piece, beautiful indeed in 

* Since tliat period the back of the choir, facing the Rhine towards 
the east, has been freed from all the extraneous buUdings which enctim- 
1>ered it ; and, whether viewed from a* distance or in the immediate vicinity, 
the cathedral now presents a glorious object, aud can, for the first time, be 
contemplated in the perfection of its beauty. 


itself, but quite out of character in a Grothic cathedral. The 
ancient screen was in perfect harmony with the exterioi*, and 
was formed, with most delicate skill, of innumerable small 
crocketed and clustering pinnacles, — a compendium, as it 
were, of the general exterior features, and presenting to the 
spectator a miniature representation of aU those beauties 
which the extent of the building makes it impossible to 
embrace at one glance. 

In old churches the principal entrance is frequently marked 
by one single square tower, and the choir has two little 
turrets, between which the extreme termination projects in 
a half circle. St. Kunibert and St. Severin, both churches 
of noble and massive form, are designed on this plan. The 
tower of St. Martin, of the tenth century, is still more re- 
markable, as the mighty centre tower was adorned and sur- 
rounded by lesser towers at the four corners, of which two 
only are left standing. The church of the Twelve Apostles 
(St Aposteln) is far more artistic : it belongs to the eleventh 
and twelfth centuries, and its entrance is aJso marked by a 
single massive heavy tower. The choir is terminated by 
three semicircular apses, above which rise three gables ; two 
towers ornament the centre apse at the extremity, and above 
the gables and apses rises a double hexagonal cupola.^ 
A structure, compounded as it were of numerous others, most 
skilfully groupedj and presenting not one single temple, but a 
stately and majestic fabric, formed of several temples, rising 
one above the other. In this union and combination of numer- 
ous buildings we recognise the original idea of early Christian 
architecture. Constantine first desired to have his Basilica 
built in the form of a cross. The high altar next became indi- 
cated by cupolas, rising one above the other, as in the church 
of St. Sophia at Constantinople, and St. Mark at Venice, built 
in imitation of the former. The choir, being the appointed 
place for those whose office required them to take an active 
part in the service of God and the duties of the sanctuary, 

* A transverse, triapsal church, with a large western tower ; twf> 
smaller towers at the east, and an octagonal pyramid at the eastern cruis- 
ing. It has also a western transept. The apses are vaulted with semi- 
domes. The vaulting of the old central aisle is sexpartite on the double 
compartments, ana cylindrical on the single ones. — See Architeeturat 
Notes OH Gtrman Chureh€$, p. 39. Plate, fig. 10. 


was early separated from the grand area destined to receive 
the congregation, and constructed on the noblest scale : it 
forms, as it were, a lesser church, contained within the limits 
of the principal structure. The necessity of a passage 
round the choir led to the erection of side aisles a^oin- 
ing the nave, which was so completely distinguished from 
them by its greater elevation, that these aisles often appear 
like separate buildings attached to the centre pile. Every 
thing, in fact, contributes to produce that copious variety of 
design and decoration, which is a distinctive characteristic 
of Gothic ecclesiastical architecture. The peculiar forma- 
tion of the pillars may be cited as an example. Even in 
old Byzantine churches we generally find not merely simple 
circular columns, but many pillars, clustered or banded to- 
gether : this may probably have arisen from the necessity of 
combining the side-aisles with the nave and the choir, the 
pillars of the latter aiding in the support of the former also ; 
or it may have had its source in a predilection for variety 
and multiform combinations. These rude beginnings in 
time expanded into peculiar beauty, in those slender shafts 
and clustering columns which have given birth to so many 
significant comparisons. The pillars in the cathedral of 
Cologne clearly illustrate the manner in which the idea of 
this mode of construction arose and developed itself. The 
centre-shaft is thick and circular, and four others of equal size 
surround it, yet without projecting beyond a given circle ; the 
space between each of the four outer columns is filled up by 
another smaller shaft which stands out beyond the others : 
there are two lesser shafts in each space of the columns at the 
principal entrance, and three in the pillars supporting the 
lantern ; so that each pillar, besides its solid centre, has four 
of equal size surrounding it, and four, eight, or twelve, of the 
smaller, the number varying according to the situation and 
importance of the pillar. When many such systems of clus- 
tering columns are assembled together, as at the interior 
angles of the tower, a surprising idea of vastness is pro- 
duced by their multiplied variety. Hence also arose the 
peculiar character of the Gothic arch: the high-pitched 
northern roof gave to the arch its pointed form, in accord- 
ance with the harmony which (unless any important reason 
command a deviation,) it is essentially necessary to preserve 

1804-5.] CHUBCHES IN COLOGNE. 179 

between the interior and exterior. In canning up these 
clustering shafts, they naturally unfolded into numerous ribs 
and branches, which, crossing and intersecting each other in 
every direction, became a groined and pointed roof, the 
vaulting of which gave peculiar grandeur of expression to 
the lofty aisle, and stamped it with a variety and beauty 
found only in Grothic architecture. The form of the arch 
derived from the high-pitched roof of the northern manner 
of building, extends also to the doorways, in which the 
numerous banded pillars, expanding above, form arches, re- 
tiring one within the other, narrowing and deepening towards 
the interior, and exuberantly ornamented. The oldest Gothic 
windows are mostly trefoiled : here again, if we seek the slen- 
der, long-drawn pointed arch, in this as in every other part, as 
far as is practicable, we find a repetition of the same general 
principle, and in all its variations the one fundamental figure 
is apparent. In the close juxtaposition of two such arches, 
and the introduction of the trefoil already mentioned, at the 
point of union, we discover an anticipation of the subsequent 
foliated tracery ; the rose and trefoil in various combinations 
may be recognised as the basis of all the highly artistic folia- 
tion with which the cathedral at Cologne is adorned. 

Still more beautiful perhaps, in the old Byzantine style, 
than the churches above mentioned, is the church of St. 
Gereon, belonging probably to the eleventh century. A 
cupola-like elevation, in the form of a decagon, marks the 
vestibule. An ascent of several steps leads to the choir, 
which is considerably elevated, and the exterior is graced 
by two towers : the simple symmetrical proportions give in- 
terest and beauty to the exterior of the building, and the 
interior is also finely ornamented. Gurgoyles, heads of 
animals forming the mouths of water-pipes, or ornamenting 
the angles of the tower, are here seen, but confined almost en- 
tirely, as is usual in early Gothic work, to those unimportant 
portions of the edifice. Foliated tracery is rarely seen in 
the early Christian period, nor those crockets and crocketed 
pinnacles, which afterwards became so numerous that they 
seem at the first glance to be the most striking feature. The 
interior columns are rarely foliated or adorned with carved 
work or spiral ornaments ; the projecting capitals are merely 
gilded. The upper part of the cupola, the windows, and 


transepts, ore occasionally adorned with slender basaltic 
pillars, in groups of two or four. The capitals are some- 
times plain, sometimes foliated, interspersed with birds, 
dragons, and other figures. In Gk>thic buildings of the de- 
corated epoch these pillars are never seen. Much careful 
comparison and accurate measurements would be necessary 
to make these examples fully intelligible, but for the present 
a few more observations must suffice. 

I now proceed to trace the distinctive characteristics of 
the two styles of Gothic architecture, selecting, as an ex- 
ample of the early Christian era*, the church of St. Grereon, 
which is a perfect specimen of that style. The ground-plan 
embraces triangle and quadrangle, cross and circle, a star- 
like hexagon, and many more complicated polygonal figures ; 
nor are these confined to the groundwork of the edifice ; 
they are rather brought conspicuously forward, in what may 
be termed geometrical sjrmmetry, and the simple yet sin* 
gular character of these combined figures gives an expres- 
sion of solemn mystery to the entire structure weU suited 
to a church, which, as an holy building, is intended to sym- 
bolise in miniature the eternal structure of the spiritual 
church in the heavens. This geometrical beauty is also 
apparent in the second period of Decorated Grothic art; 
but of all these various figures, the cross alone is there 
retained and made strikingly manifest; yet even this is 
entwined with rich foliation, and appears as it were sur- 
rounded by wreaths of blooming roses. Arches and win- 
dows of lancellated form are separated by pillars and 
slender shafts, arranged in long files of entwining stems 
and branches, with fiinely traced decorations, generally foli- 
ated or fiower-like in form. That deep reverential love of 
nature which was a predominating element in the minds of 
our Grerman ancestors, seems to have been the parent of 
this gloriously devised architecture. Whether in the old 
Christian church style (the Romanesque), so great a degree 
of perfection could have been attained as was reached by 
the highly ornamented and romantic in the cathedral at 
Cplogne, I must not venture to decide ; yet I confess that I 
much doubt it, for the style itself presents a far wider field, 
anc^ would npt therefore be so easily carried to the same 

* The Romanesque. 


1804-5.] PAINTINGS ON GLASS. 181 

perfection. The church of St. Gereon is as surprising an 
example of perfection in the Romanesque, as the cathedral 
at Cologne of the Grothic, the church of St. Mark at Venice 
of the Byzantine, and the cathedral at Siena of the Italian 
(jothic style. 

In mj previous description of ancient paintings at Cologne, 
I noticed a few very remarkable pictures of the lower Ger- 
man school, which I met with in a private collection. 

The churches here have been generaUy despoiled of their 
paintings, but, stimulated by the information of a learned 
connoisseur, I provided myself with torches and carefully 
examined the crypt of St. Mary, where, in the vaulting, 
traces of painting, as old as the time of Charlemagne, are 
to be found. They are indeed traces, and no more ; the 
crypt was walled up a few years ago, and the fragments of 
half-effaced outlines now remaining have little significance, 
nor is it possible to form any opinion as to their merits : 
whether it be possible to save these remains from being 
utterly effiiced, I know not. Glass paintings may be seen in 
many of the churches described, which have rarely been 
surpassed or even equalled in beauty : perhaps the finest is 
that already noticed, on a window over the side entrance of 
the cathedral, both from the grandeur of its design and exe- 
cution, and also because it belongs to the best and most 
fiourishing period of glass painting, the latter half of the 
fifteenth century. A window in the church of St. Kuni- 
bert is also of very high antiquity, belonging to the middle 
of the fifteenth century, and admirable from the depth oi 
tone and splendour of the colouring. Some windows have 
been destroyed, and replaced by others of later date, the 
outlines of which are clearer and better defined, although 
decidedly inferior in colouring. In early paintings on glass 
the colouring of the faces is uniformly brown ; the mixing 
of tints hecessary for producing a natural carnation being 
little understood. Intermediate shading is seldom seen ; 
but the arabesques surrounding the figures, and which re- 
present trefoils, roses, peacocks' eyes, and other ornaments, 
are almost more beautifully coloured than those of a later 
style. . 

y S 


Voyage up the Rhine. 

The most beautiful scenery on the Rhine begins a little 
above Bonn. Richly enamelled meadow land extends like a 
deep valley between hills and moimtains, stretching down to 
the influx of the Moselle at Coblentz, and from thence to 
St Goar and Bingen, gradually narrowing as it advances, 
the rocks become more steep and the prospect wilder and 
more sublime. The Rhine is here most charming, enlivened 
on its course by the populous shores, overhanging rocks, and 
ruined castles, it appears more like a painting, the inten- 
tional creation of some artist's genius, than a merely acci- 
dental combination of nature. The first of the many ruins 
situated on the Rhine, which we passed in ascending from 
the flat country upwards, is Godesberg, beautiful, not so 
much from its majestic situation as from the rich prospect it 
commands. The Drachenfels next appearing, seem to kindle 
in the mind glowing anticipations of all the strange wild 
fastnesses which crown the rocky shores of our mighty river. 
Such ruins as these are often viewed with a sort of senti- 
mental tranquillity, as it were, ' forming a romantic back- 
ground, indispensably necessary to the development of the 
favourite feelings of the day ; or, it may be, only as robber 
castles, which, in times of peace and order, were of course 
demolished, and which must ever remain in ruins. Many, 
unquestionably, were such ; perhaps, most of those the ruins 
of which we now contemplate ; but it is not just always to 
associate the idea of its latest degradation with the image of 
the thing itself, and thus in a moment blunt every feeling of 
sympathy for the noble memorials of departed ages. A 
candid investigation of historical records will probably show 
that many of these castles existed for centuries before those 
perpetual wars between the nobles and rich burghers of 
which we now read so much, centuries before the feudal 
law, public peace, &c., were even thought of; nay, that 
the Grerman race have ever shown so remarkable a predilec- 
tion for dwelling upon rocks or lofty mountains, that it may 
almost be regarded as a national characteristic. A severe 
and noble taste ! Even now, one glance at the height above 
seems to place us in another world. It is inspiriting and 
refreshing to quit the dull monotony of the plain and inhale 
life and vigour from the clear atmosphere there encircling us. 


If we, who but occasionally and with fatigue reach the sum- 
mit, feel at once that its breath inspires us with new life and 
courage, how invigorating must it be to dwell always there, 
with tiie earth in her richest attire lying outspread beneath ; 
the changes of nature, at all periods of the day and in all 
seasons of the year, seem invested with new interest ; the 
passing clouds, the blossoming of early spring, the moonlit 
summer night, nay, even the autumnal storm and the snowy 
fields of winter, all have their charms. Those places only, 
to me, seem beautiful which men call rude and wild ; for those 
alone are grand, and grandeur and sublimity are essential 
elements of perfect beauty, for by them our souls are elevated 
and purified. The joyous aspect of a highly cultivated cham- 
paign country cannot fail, after long imprisonment in towns, 
to arouse agreeable thoughts, for the blooming charms of 
nature have a more than ordinarily powerful and soothing 
influence on the heart when rarely seen ; but the sweet sen- 
sation of repose that they communicate has no power to 
awaken dreams of the mighty past. A rock, on the contraiy, 
stands amid the spirit-treasures of wild naturey like a speak- 
ing memorial of demental wars, telling of the fierce combat 
which once wrenched it from the dissevered earth around, 
and the eternal impression it leaves is ever unenfeebled and 
unsubdued. As the rustling of the forest^ the murmur of 
the fountain, plunge us always into a soothing melancholy ; 
as the wild cry of solitary birds calls up a mingled feeling of 
unrest, a yearning for freedom and solitude ; so nature herself 
seems eternally present in her ancient mountains, those monu- 
ments which recall to us the grandest features of history, 
and awaken such profound and majestic ideas, as the luxu- 
riance of a level landscape could never inspire. How greatly 
is this impression heightened, when amid the ruins of na- 
ture we also recognise the hand of man ! Lofty fortresses 
erected on savage rocks ; the monuments of human heroism 
associating itseif on every diff with the hero-times of nature. 
The fount of poetic inspiration seems unsealed before us^ 
and the old ancestral river sweeps onwards, in a full stream 
of poetry and romance. 

From thy proud soaroe unnumbered strccms are flowing* 
Fraught with rich gifts to rouse the poet*s soul ; 

N 4 


Thy giant rocks point upwards to the goal 
He too must seek, •— the heaven in radiance glowing. 

My chosen Rhine ! Thy torrent onward sweepeth, 

Where on its narrowing course dark mountains frown. 
And gloomy towers from each stern height look down. 

While awfiil terror o*er the gazer creepeth t 

The Teasels on thy gp-een transparent wave 

Still hurry far from thee, our German Rhine. 
They pass — they part — ne*er to return again. 

Pledge the full cup of strength and joy, ye brave, 
The liquid crystal of our golden wine. 
And with glad voices swdl the heroic strain 1 

The numberless Roman castles, towns, and walls every- 
where seen on the banks of the Rhine, supply ample food for 
meditation and reflexion. This river was once the boundary 
of the Roman dominion. What a remarkable resemblance 
may often be traced between the most distant periods ! In 
what an unfathomable abyss of degradation would the whole 
human race have been plunged, if that Roman boundary had 
still subsisted ; if the noblest people of the earth had not 
broken through their chains, abolished slavery, and established 
in its stead a government founded on truth and freedom, 
more true to early institutions and the principles of honour 
and justice, than any other legislature of ancient or modem 
times ! It is true no boundary so arbitrarily imposed could 
be permanent ; but we must not attempt to judge of Roman 
policy by our own ideas and circumstances alone. It appears 
in the present day a most impolitic scheme to choose a river 
as a natural boundary between adverse nations, since with us 
it is rather a medium of commerce and friendly intercourse. 
A difference of language appears to be the only natural 
barrier between men, and lof ^ mountains, or dense and ex- 
tensive forests, can alone effectually sever countries. In the 
time of the Romans, however, the natives of southern Grer- 
many were so ignorant of navigation or the use of engines 
of war, that the river formed a quite sufficient protection for 
the conquerors. 

At Rudesheim, opposite Bingen, a most interesting Roman 
ruin is to be seen, just on the bank of the river. The defile 
between the rocks is frightfully narrow, and the old German 



tower in the centre of the stream gives a peculiar character 
to the view. 

The ruined castles which so majestically crown the Rhine, 
besides the mere wonder and admiration which thej excite, 
give much scope for meditation and reflection ; for one great 
element, afterwards more fully unfolded in Gothic ecclesias- 
tical architecture, may be discovered in the preference of 
the early Germans for steep and rocky dwelling-places. 
Tacitus, in his history of Hermann and Narbodd, mentions 
the castles erected by the Germans in their impenetrable 
forests, and they were indeed common, long before the esta- 
blishment of fortified towns, which probably were first sur- 
rounded with walls in imitation of castles ; nay, even before 
those great assemblages of country houses and cottages, which 
we name villages, were general. These castles were the 
residence of princes and warriors, and stood amid the humbler 
dwellings scattered around for protection against the enemy 
in time of war, or for safe custody during the armed and 
uncertain peace. The ancient Grermans had no temples for 
the worship of their gods ; they kindled fires upon the lofty 
mountains, and brought their ofierings to the lonely shore, or 
the deep recesses of the forest, and the shade of their sacred 
oaks. They heaped funeral mounds, or barrows, above the 
bones of their departed heroes, or diverting some river from 
its course, sunk them in the deep bed of the stream, and then 
suffered the waters to return to their accustomed channel. 
The architecture of the ancient Grermans, instead of being 
devoted to temples and monuments, as with other nations, 
was therefore confined solely to the erection of casUes, which, 
when built upon rocks or mountains, both answered the pur- 
poses of security and likewise commanded an extensive view 
around. Many other warlike people thus erected citadels 
upon rocky eminences ; but the practice has never been so 
universal among any people as in Grermany, where towers 
and walls seem perched like eyries on bare and rugged 
peaks, from which they appear suspended in an incre* 
dible manner, in places rarely scaled by human foot. The 
choice of such situations must have been prompted by an 
intense love of nature, an irresistible desire to revel amid 
scenes of earthly miyesty and beauty. The ruins of the great 
castle of Theodoric, at Terracina, hang from the very pin- 


nacle of the rock, and command an uninterrupted view of the 
sea. Heavy as the architecture of these castles may have been, 
rude as in most instances thej still remain, thousands were 
undoubtedly built and crumbled to decay before any one 
attained the art and splendid beauty of the proud regal 
fortress of Barbarossa, yet both the style and situation of 
those old castles had unquestionably great influence on the 
development of Gothic architecture. In tracing this resem- 
blance, we must not confine ourselves to single examples 
only, because although we do occasionally see churches with 
battlemented towers, or other castle-like peculiarities of 
general structure, such examples usually belong to a rude 
and unpolished era. The spirit and design of these moun- 
tain fastnesses tended powerfully to encourage and excite 
the daring architectural fancy which prevailed in Grothic 
churches, from the age of Theodoric down to the present. 
It became necessary, in building one of these lofty fortresses, 
to take into consideration the probable requirements both of 
^ peace and war ; from the singular nature of the ground, the 
local circumstances and situation also became points of vast 
importance. Great irregularity was the natural resolt, and 
this soon engendered a pleasure in daring and original schemes, 
and gave tiie first impulse to that wonder-working fancy 
which still marks the creations of Gothic art Indeed, this 
fanciful irregularity, combined with the geometrical figures 
of the early Christian edifices, solve the whole enigma of 
Gothic designs. 

The root and living source of all these beauties, is that 
love of nature which still distinguishes the Gferman character. 
Her treasures were by them invested with a twofold sym- 
bolism, especially manifest in early painters of the German 
school, by whom nature was depicted either as a paradise or 
a wilderness. The garden and variegated carpet of spring 
symbolising in its deeper meaning the nuptial robe of flowers 
adorning the spiritual bride — the church; the wilderness, 
by the half-torn veil of eternal sorrow, carrying out the same 
similitude, and shadowing forth her desolate widowhood. 
Taken in this symbolic sense, the garden is represented as 
an elevated, joyous, and brilliant scene ; the desert is actual 
barren nature, whose dreary aspect ever fills us with the 
deepest melancholy, and yet wears a mingled chann that 

1804-5.] STRASBURG MINSTER. 187 

aUures and fascinates the soul ; the child of heaven stands 
alone in the wild solitude, or wanders around in restless 
sorrow, ever seeking to regain his father's heart, and mourn- 
ing his separation and abandonment. This is the twofold 
impression communicated by nature herself, and by beautiful 
landscapes or paintings. Each rock-building, therefore, stands 
in the desert of nature, and her expression harmonises com- 
pletely with each wondrous style of building, whether it be a 
strongly fortified castle, or an encampment, walled only by a 
protecting bulwark of waggons. In a more elevated style, 
the imitation of nature is not confined to her prison-house of 
mourning, but it either depicts her in celestial bloom, as the 
heavenly city of our €rod, or by symmetrical forms and poly- 
gonal figures, emblems of creative perfection, shadows forth 
the spiritual church according to the original plan of perfect 
ecclesiastical architecture. 

The minster in this city is truly deserving of its fame, and is 
onquestionably one of the most glorious monuments of Gothic 
art now in existence. It was begun in the year 1015, but 
not completed till 1275. The tower, commenced in 1277, by 
Erwin von Steinbach, was continued after his death by his 
children, Selina and John, until the year 1339. John Huly, 
an architect of Cologne, completed the erection in 1449. Its 
situation is not very conspicuous, but open on all sides, and 
not defaced by small extraneous buildings, as is too often the 
case. Here, too, the revolution has left destructive traces of 
its violence ; all the images which adorned the tower having 
been thrown down during that period. The architecture is 
extremely rich, belonging to the second period, the same 
style in which the cathedral at Cologne and St. Stephen's 
Tower are built. At the first glance it appears to resemble 
those buildings, but a closer investigation discloses many 
points of difference. The fioriations are chiefiy employed as 
arabesques. Even the string-courses and cornices of Cologne 
cathedral are floriated ; in the Strasburg minster the orna- 
ments are merely spiral. There is a great difference in the 
general effect, as well as in the individual parts^ many of 
which seem as if they belonged rather to the mechanism of a 


watch, or some skilful fabric in iron work, than to a stone 
edifice. Strasburg minster, and Westminster Abbey in 
London, appear to* me, in the exterior at least, to surpass the 
old Italian architecture, which was, in fact, but half Grothic. 
The great cathedral at Milan, which was bmlt partly under 
the superintendence of Henry Gramodius, or Gramtind, is 
scarcely more foliated ; even the towers are not terminated 
by a spire of open tracery, with a finial or crockets, but by a 
plain roof, adorned with statues. The whole plan is Gothic — 
two toners at the western entrance, a tower-like cupola above 
the choir, and a number of ornamental pinnacles around ; yet 
it is much less rich in execution, and in the florid abundance 
of ornament quite curtailed. Many traces of Grothic desiga 
also appear in the Santa Maria del Fiore, at Florence, which 
appears also to have been planned by a Grerman architect, 
caUed by the Italians, Arnolfo di Lapo, or Gamble, but the 
cupola is by Brunelleschi, and is pure Italian.* Bramante 
had, apparently, some reminiscence of this church in hjs mind 
when he planned St. Peter's at Bome, that wonder of Italian 
architecture, — that architecture which, through various 
changes and modifications, many more of which might un* 
doubtedly be traced, was gradually unfolded out of the original 
pure Grothic. 

Besides the two grand divisions of Grothic architecture, we 
discover, in the circle of its inexhaustible treasures, many 
evident deteriorations, and occasionally isolated examples of 
change, which mark the transition from one style to another, 
and the different epochs of each. The Moorish monuments 
in Spain and Portugal have all one distinct character ; the 
buildings of the Templars, whether in the east or the west, are 
in another different style ; the old Italian marble churches 
differ widely from the castle-like church, found principally in 
those provinces of Greimany where the art never attained its 
highest bloom of decorative perfection. To give a compre- 

* Amolib died in 1300, and the work was stopped until Giotto was 
requested to continue it in 1S30 ; it was afterwards carried on by Taddeo 
Gaddif Andrea Orci^gna and Lorenzo Filippi, but the wondrous cupola 
designed by Arnolfo, was not reared until the time of Brunelleschi* 
whose zeal and genius triumphed oyer both the difficulties of the work 
itself and the indifference and obstinacy of the building committee. 
See Murray'i Hand-book of Northern Ttaly, page 494, &o. 

1804-5.] STRASBUBG. — BASLE. 189 

hensive analysis ^f these several varieties^ would require a 
complete history of Gothic architecture, which^ if the true 
principle were kept strictly in view throughout, would not 
now be a task of much difficulty, the way having been so com- 
pletely laid open by various important preparatory labours 
and antiquarian research. 

Among the old churches at Strasburg, that of St. Thomas 
completely resembles a fortress in design. 

One of the most remarkable paintings in the collection at 
Strasburg, is the picture of a saint, by Perugino. It is merely 
a half-length, without any S3nmbolic attributes; the back- 
ground clear and bright. The bended head and subdued 
glance heighten the expression of loveliness and repose, for 
which this master is so remarkable. This single figure 
could scarcely have formed a picture by itself, and it was, 
probably, the wing of some destroyed altar-piece, or triptic. 
How many works of art have thus been dissevered in modem 
times, and are now, by strange and melancholy vicissitudes, 
scattered abroad, wandering from country to country ! 

The town of Strasburg can boast a Schiller, Scherz, and 
many other ornaments of their time ; a proof that French 
domination has not destroyed the spring of German taste and 


Alsace, also, is a beautiful country. It is true there are few 
localities resembling those between Bonn and Bingen, but the 
scenery is agreeable, and the country fertile, sloping gently 
down from the mountains to the banks of the Rhine. The 
colour of the river is at Basle a most lovely emerald green, 
and particularly pleasing. 

The public collection of paintings by Holbein, in the 
town of Basle, give a deeper insight into the character of 
that master than his portraits, which, although very ex- 
cellent, are always in the same manner. EQs historical 
paintings are much more varied. A ^'Last Supper," of 
his early time, is like Diirer, so also are many of the 
sketches. Another " Last Supper" resembles Titian, and 
is rather like the ^* Pilgrims of Emmaus.'* Eight small 
pictures, representing the " Passion of our Lord," are very 


pleasing, from the vivid contrast produced bj a iHilliant 
illumination and deep, heavy masses of shadow. The body 
of the Redeemer, extended, pale, and suffering, reminds me 
rather of Correggio's treatment of such subjects. In short, 
great variety is apparent in these historical compositions, and 
a close approximation to that Italian manner, which Diirer, 
on the other hand, was always so studious to avoid. 

There is no picture in this collection at all comparable 
with the magnificent composition at Dresden, in which the 
burgomaster of Basle and his family are represented in devout 
prayer before the Viigin, and the Mother of Grod herself in 
wondrous humility and beauty, as queen of heaven. This 
appears to me the crown and flower of all Holbein's works. 
Beisides the pictures already mentioned, there are two female 
portraits, of small size, drawn after the life, but with symbolic 
attributes, which, by the laboured blending of the carnations, 
and the artificial, undecided expression of the features, remind 
me of the portraits of Leonardo, rather than those of Holbein. 
A few pictures of the same kind enrich the Mechel collection 
at Basle. Little now remains of the famous *< Dance of 
Death," once painted on the walls of the Dominican cloisters 
in that town. 

The situation of the cathedral at Basle is majestic, and com- 
mands an extensive prospect, but the architecture is extremely 
clumsy, and far less decorated than in the churches already 


Entering Switzerland from this side, where the mountains 
piled one upon the other, tower gradually higher and 
higher, its singular agriculture, Chalets, and the snowy peaks 
shining brightly in the sun-light, leave on the mind a sen- 
sation of pleasure and calm repose, which almost uncon- 
sciously excites a wish for such a home. This country wins 
our affection at the first glance, and we seem fully to com- 
prehend the home-sickness of its exiled children. 

Berne is certainly a fine city, and there are few towns 
to which I could give that appellation, in the sense which I 
attach to it. Many may be well situated, and full of noble 
buildings, yet perhaps side by side with miserable hovels. 

1804-^.] GBNEYA. 191 

and often built in every possible style of architecture, as 
if to exemplify the various errors into which that art has 
been betrayed. Berne, on the contrary, is well and uni- 
formly built ; the heavy stone arcades, the size of the town, 
and strength of the walls, the masses of rock around, the 
general style of the architecture, and the ancient cathedral, 
accord completely both with its situation and general cha- 
racter. The town appears like a mighty castle surrounded 
in the distance by lofty mountains, the impregnable bul- 
warks of nature. 

Lake of Geneva. 

The character of the country is here completely altered, 
and the climate southern. How beautiful is the dark, restless, 
everchanging lake, covered with vessels, which, in the dis- 
tance, look with their spreading sails like birds, hovering in 
flocks upon the surface of the water; beyond are the mountains 
of Savoy, the snow-capped Mont Blanc, and blooming valley 
of Chamouni, forming an exquisite picture. We almost 
imagine ourselves in Italy, and are at least sensible of the 
vicinity of that lovely land. To me, especially, the warm greet- 
ings of friendship gave this favoured spot additional charms. 

The situation of Greneva is very fine, though the town 
itself is sadly deficient in beauty. A certain taste is often 
apparent in the plan and construction of towns, which, 
though belonging neither to the German nor Italian style, is 
characteristic, and when skilfully employed may embellish 
the most unfavourable circumstances uud situations. To 
some nations, however, the taste is denied ; and hence we 
occasionally see the most splendid gifts of nature defaced 
and ruined by the mean and wretched works of human 
hands. No words can adequately describe the beauty of the 
Rhone at Geneva ; its dark blue waters are so transparent 
that, as it pursues its impetuous course, the smallest pebble 
may be discerned at any depth. How different in colour 
and character from the calm majestic Rhine, and yet how 
beautiful in its kind ! Further on, its waters are disturbed 
by the influx of other streams, and the impression of beauty 
is completely destroyed when it reaches the town, by the 
unsightly hovels which disgrace its banks. 



Hills and valleys glided rapidly away, while Mont Blanc 
still reared its lofty snow-crowned head, and I pondered on 
the time when this mfgestic country belonged, together with 
the Burgundian dominions, to Grermany; and when the 
ancient emperors, the Conrads and Fredericks, held their 
assemblies of the states in Burgundian cities. 

The observations made on Geneva apply equally to Lyons: 
the town is as ugly as many of the worst parts of Paris ; the 
streets, if possible, more narrow and dirty, and the architec- 
ture fVench. The climate appears more southerly than that 
of Geneva, which may perhaps arise from the difference of 
elevation. The trees were in full leaf, although it was the 
beginning of November, their foliage having but recently 
been renewed. 

In the collection of paintings, I was much pleased with a 
" St. John the Evangelist,'' and a '* Bishop," by Perugino ; 
saintly figures, but merely isolated fragments torn &om some 
grand composition : a small flemish painting also, the Cru- 
cifixion, treated in ihe manner of Diirer, but badly drawn, 
and somewhat rustic in character. How useless to art, in 
their present situation, are paintings such as these of 
Perugino. Paintings which, placed in their proper order 
and connexion, would be most instructive, seen thus alone 
amongst a few modem works of but little value, and in a 
town rarely visited by foreign artists, are comparatively 

The cathedral at Lyons appears to be one of the most 
rude and heavy I have ever seen. 


The route firom Lyons to Paris, through Auxerre and the 
Bourbonnais, is very uninteresting, flat, yet with a con- 
tinuous chain of little hills, that weary the traveller without 
breaking the monotony of the landscape* Probably the vast 
difference of climate in Germany and France is occasioned 
less by the more southern latitude of the former, than by 
the diffe^nce of elevation. France is almost entirely level, 
althougl|there is a chain of lofty mountains in the south. 

It se^s probable that the entire extent of the northern 


countries of Europe rose at a coinparatiyely recent period 
from the level of the sea, or possibly may at some period 
subsequent to its formation have been overwhelmed by the 
waters, as may be conjectured from the vast tracts of sand 
existing, more especially in the interior of France. A 
slightly different impulse in the last great revolution of the 
waters might have completely changed the face of Europe : 
Spain would probably have been an island, like England ; 
the greater part of fVance under water, and the aspect of 
Germany also greatly changed. This part of France is, 
however, decidedly hilly. The mountains of Treves and 
the Rhine, the Vosges, Mount Jura, the Alps, the Bohemian, 
Silesian, and Saxon mountains, with the old Hartz further 
north, seem to enclose it like the protecting walls of a vast 
enceinte. In traversing the wide extent of country between 
Paris and Lyons, I remarked the diminutive stature of the 
people, probably the general badge of their Celtic lineage, 
and unsubdued even by the intermixture of the noble Ger- 
man race. Since ugliness seems to be the characteristic of 
this district, — that flat^ inexpressive ugliness too which is 
most repulsive, — the region should be passed through as 
quickly as possible, or it will leave but an unfavourable im- 
pression of the human countenance. 

On returning to Paris, after an absence of any length of 
time, the aspect of affairs generally seems to have under- 
gone some change of more or less importance. When we 
quitted the capital, the oaths of the Federation were being 
administered, Moreau was in prison, the barriers were closed, 
and though every thing appeared tranquil, a general feeling 
of anxiety prevfuled. Now, preparations for the coronation 
occupied every mind, the Pope was expected, and arrange- 
ments were on foot for a splendid festival, which probably 
appeared more brilliant in the columns of the Grazette than 
it was in reality. 

On revisiting the Library, I found there, among many 
learned novelties and scientific treatises, one on Gothic 
architecture, by an Englishman. How strangely must the 
brains of some individuals be organised! This writer 
imagines himself to have made an entirely novel discovery, 
in tracing the foliated tree-like form of Gothic architecture, 
the lofty avenue-like aisles, leafy vaulting, and the universal 



similitade of every part to the vegetable productions of 
nature. Yet, instcMid of recognizing in this the love of na- 
tural beauties, which was undoubtedly the source whence ima- 
gination and fancy rose to perfection in the decorated period 
of Grothic art, he explains every thing materially, from the 
imitation of I know not what existing objects ; the rode 
efforts of savage industry, rustic cottages of interwoven 
osiers, basket-work of various kinds, and similar arbitrary 
suppositions. Some theorists have found the origin of 
Greek architecture and its highly artistic colonnades in 
the imitations of posts and logs of wood, fixed at sufficient 
depth in the earUi and united by beams laid across ; rude 
contrivances, suggested by the necessities of savage life : 
and because classic art has been thus reduced to a theory, it 
is imagined that a similar plan, if adopted, wiU throw light 
on the surprising originality of the Grotliic. Even could it 
be historically proved in any single instance that such an 
idea of imitation influenced any artist in making designs for 
some particular building, still this would scarcely prove that 
the original lofty meaning of the Gothic style came from 
the same source. Such instances of imitation appear rather 
to be deviations from the general principle, and we may rank 
as such a few specimens of mediseval church architecture in 
England, which really seem to belong to tiiat class. The 
universal origin of Gothic art is so widely at variance with 
this idea, that no such theory can possibly be made appli- 
cable to it« Li its earliest period, namely, that of the oldest 
Christian style, no traces exist of wicker-work or bough- 
twined huts, and yet the later Bomantic was formed en- 
tirely on the architecture of that period. Even when the 
flat roof of the ancient Basilica was abandoned, its lofty 
domes and cupolas were still retained, or the pointed north- 
em roof flattened into an arch ; it was thus ^at the grand 
transition was accomplished. The numerous clustering 
columns, and the attempt to raise the centre vaulting of the 
choir, high above the side aisles and arches adjoining, led 
first to the piercing of the roof, and then to the high pointed 
arch and windows; doorway and tower soon adopted the 
same aspiring form, thus making each distinct part enter 
into perfect harmony and symmetry, till the new Gothic style 
developed itself in full symbolic perfection. Its first elements 

1804--5.] ITS OBJECT TWOFOLD. 195 

belong undoubtedly to the early Chrutian, coupled with a 
boundless fancy, not shown in the floriation and modification 
of the side pillars alone, but diffused throughout the build- 
ing, and giving the highest elevation possible to the chief 
cupola, and the lofty vaulting of the choir. This twofold 
object — lofty elevation and variety of ornament -^forms die 
leading feature in the late Gfothic, which is merely a high 
progressive development of that of the early epoch; for the 
whole luxuriance of foliated decorations springs from varied 
combinations of one simple type, the four-kaved rose or 
flower-like trefoil. It is certainly impossible to trace the 
origin of these forms back to the bough-twined shepherds' 
huts, but they were probably chosen at a very early period, 
sad perhaps even without reference to the symbolic regu- 
larity of their form ; it is, therefore, unnecessary to sup- 
pose any peculiar meaning was arbitrarily assigned them.* 

I was much gratified by an examination of the new apart- 
ments which had been opened in the Louvre during my ab- 
sence. Many of the paintings f I had already seen in the 

* *< The leading and predominant lines of Oivcian and B4>man arehitec- 
<ure are all horixontal, and thu principle oontinuea to have considerable 
away in the liomanesqoe style. One result of the operation of this 
principle is, that the arch lines in this style are looked upon as baring an 
analogy with the horiiontal members. * • • * • When the pointed 
arch is adopted the arch line refers to the supporting pillar, not to the 
entablature ; and considering it a continuation of the pillar, we giTc it that 
cylindrical form which implies such an origin. • • • • • xhe 
pillars being thus conducted beyond the capital, we lose all perception of 
a limitation of them in the direction of their length ; they may be pro- 
duced in extent and diminished in thickness, as much as we choose. 
The capitals must be no longer so square as to stop them by a marked 
rectangular interruption: the common tendency of shafts to prolong 
themselves indefinitely upwards, makes it natural to place them in con- 
tact, to form them into clusters, to combine them into groups, and to take 
up again in the arch mouldings the members of this group. And after 
thb has been done, the formation of those 6ezible and upward tending 
lines into the tracery of the roof, and all the varied forms of the richest 
Gothic work proceeds by a gradation which it is agreeable to trace, but 
unnecessary to detaiL^-^fTAswc^'s ArehUeciural Ncite9 on German 
Chttrchetf p. 31. 

t See the 3rd Letter, and the commencement of the 4th Letter, on 
Christian Art The following numbers refer to the *' Supplement k la 
Notice des Tableaux." Musee Napoleon. An. xilL 

o « 


restoring apartment, and as thej have been already de- 
scribed, I shall here notice only a few among theuL 

There are not many new paintings by Raphael, except a 
very vigorous portrait of Cardinal Bibiena (No. 1187.), and 
an "Assumption of the Virgin "(No. 1180.), both however 
finished by his pupils H Fattore* and Giulio Romano. The 
latter composition is remarkable £rom the decided difference 
of treatment in the upper portion by H Fattore, and the lower 
attributed to Giulio Biomano. 

The " Triumph of Titus and Vespasian,** by Giulio Ro- 
mano (No. 1121.), of small dimensions, has little depth of 
feeling or severe intellectual correctness of design, but is 
painted with the almost Roman vigour and richness which 
characterise that master : his warlike and Roman bias are 
no less apparent in the " Adoration of the Shepherds ^ 
(No. 1 1 12.). St Longinus in full armour is introduced in 
a striking manner in the foreground, but the picture is not 
in other respects very remarkable. A " Holy Family," by 
Titian (No. 1 126.), a half-length, with St Stephen holding 
the palm-branch, is quite in that master's earlier style, fuU 
of simple loveliness and beauty ; the colouring is clear, as if 
only tinted, with no studied theatrical expression, but vi* 
gorous, tranquil, and fuU of feeling. No. 1148. is a " Holy 
Family," with <* St Anthony the Hermit," by Palma Vecchio- 
This master is here quite himself, simple, lovely, and grace- 
ful ; a charming proof that a few painters, .the Venetians 
especially, still remained true to their earlier simplicity and 
truth, even after the reign of mannerism and affectation had 
commenced. A " Holy Family," with " St Sebastian,"" by 
Giorgione (No. 1115.); light, simple, and powerful,, but 
without the deep truth and science usually seen in that mas<- 
ter's compositions. There are besides several beautiful fe- 
male portraits by Titian, and others of the Venetian schooL 
The female portraits of that school are in general preferable, 
though perhaps equal in point of objective truth, to those of 
Holbein, from the freshness of the carnations, the splendour 
of the garments, and the animated expression of the coun- 
tenances. In portraits of men, however, Holbein is more 

* Jean Fran9ois Penni, surnomni6 II F«ttore, parcequ*il faisait les 
ailfoures doxnesiiqu^ de lUplig?! 4'Urbino.— v^br^yi ikhVU dci Pfintrfh 
Drwden, 1799« 


than equal to them, on account of his greater individuality 
and soliditj of execution. A portrait of Francis the First, 
bj Titian, in which we scarcely feel the power of the mas- 
ter's hand, so coiiipletely is every other feeling absorbed in 
the repulsiveness of the countenance depicted. Neither the 
art of a Titian nor a Leonardo could make its ugliness en« 
durable, or give expression to the fat, stupid, malicious, and 
treacherous countenance, with its little blinking eyes : labour 
and skill must here be alike useless. 

The most valuable of these old pictures is a " St. John 
the Baptist," by Leonardo da Vinci ; a half-length ; the pre* 
dominant tints brown, and the background dark brown. 
There is a noble ideality in the contour of the head, and 
the proud abundance of hair encircling the face, but a pure 
smile plays around the mouth, and imparts to the counte- 
nance that grace and loveliness for which all Leonardo's 
pictures are remarkable, and which afterwards became the 
rule and guide of the school of Correggio. What wonderful 
execution I and how magnificently painted ! The evanescent 
breath of the expression seems to liave been caught as it 
floated past, transferred at once to the canvas, and there 
worked out with just sufficient solidity to give it reality. 
When contemplating such pictures as those of Leonardo, we 
doubt the authenticity of many which bear his name, and 
what tUl now we had thought the highest model of objective 
excellence in painting, sinks into comparative inferiority. 
Yet how closely does the highest perfection border upon 
degeneracy ! Although the works of Leonardo appear to 
be models of excellence, they contain the germ of that exag- 
gerated foreshortening, distortion, and other mannerisms 
which reigned in the school of Michelaugelo, on the one 
hand, and the charlatanism of the chiaroscuro, and the af- 
fected grace of the Lombards on the other. Painters have 
been misled, not only by a false idea of nature and truth, by 
imitating the antique, and copying forms and subjects not 
applicable to painting, but have even imbibed errors from 
the various theories of painting itself. I do not allude to 
those modem ideas, miscalled assthetic, which, being destitute 
of both foundation and connexion, can have very little in- 
fluence either for good or evil, but rather to old theories of 

art, of some of which Leonardo may be considered the parent. 



The earliest of these theories related onlj to the mysteries 
of lineal perspective ; the next embraced chiaroscuro or the 
perpectire of colouring, and foreshortening or the perspective 
of figures ; but the evUs ensuing are to be attributed less to 
errors which may haTe crept into the working out of such 
theories than to the undue elevation of subordinate parts 
and mere accessories, and the neglect and disr^ard of high 
essential principles, and that divine signification which 
alone makes beauty truly beautiful, and gives ideality to the 
ideaL When beauty and ideality are spoken of without due 
reference to that symbolic meaning, the (pinions maintained 
are but frivolous, scarcely more than empty repetitions of 
philosophical abstractions which, by genuine esthetic writers^ 
are little known or regarded. I shall notice, in conelusion, 
a picture by Pemgino (Na 11 67.), representing the mother 
of God in a glory of angels; St. Michael, St John, St Ca- 
therine, and St Lucy stand below, praying with devout 
earnestness. The design is simple; but fervent devotioD 
and heavenly love are represented with a radiant effulgence^ 
to attain wMch should be the painter's highest object. 

We thus found ourselves again in the modern capital of 
the world, as it is called, where social life whirls on in one 
imceasing round of pleasures and gaiety, beneath clouds of 
all-enveloping dust, till that element at length yields to the 
approach of winter, abandoning the well-known streets and 
thoroughfares to the no less agreeable dominion ai heavy 
and unceasing rains. 

How completely is this mod^m world shut out from all 
sense of the beautiful ! The glorious works of art and beauty 
now assembled in Paris are enclosed in a few salons which 
offer a solitary retreat from the bustle of the day, where the 
silent mind, seeking to foster and cherish its finer sensibilities, 
may muse alone and undisturbed. In actual life they have 
now no longrer place ; luxury is the aU-absorbing dei^ that 
governs the hasty revolutions of the fleeting day, amid an 
universal irregularity of existence, buildings, garments, 
and the omamoital refinements of life, interrupted only by 
the fantastic caprice of ever-varying fashion. Will it then 
be ever thus? will not art at length usurp the place of 
fashion, and thus exmoble and influence our social life, as it 
once did among the Greeks, and, at a modem period, during 


the reign of Catholicism in the middle ages? One single 
step alone seems to divide our now wondering astonishment 
at artistic creations from the true conception of beauty, as 
it has been handed down to us from ancient times ; but that 
step is of vital importance, inasmuch as it must free us from 
the absorbing and overpowering influence of actual life. 
The painter may, indeed, seclude himself like a hermit or 
a philosopher in his cell, independent of aU around him, and 
undisturbed by the concerns of the passing moment, may 
embody in lofty compositions his peculiar genius and cha- 
racter ; but before any general reformation can be effected, 
it must be remembered that architecture is the basis and 
groundwork of all other imitative arts, and that no revival 
of art can take place until a grand improvement is seen in 
architectural designs, or till a more artistic style is adopted 
in our dwelling houses and public buildings. The general 
absence of all correct style, at this period, leaves us no 
ground to rest upon. The romantic style of the middle ages 
may indeed be adopted in a few country houses, as in Eng- 
land, where these miniature copies are seen in abundance ; 
the materials exists but the idea alone is wanting. We may 
yet erect churches in the glorious style of old Christian, 
architecture, as rich in decoration, and perhaps even more 
beautifully executed than those of other days; but the 
spirit of ^e times leads rather to the desecration and neglect 
of all the ancient houses of God than to incurring the ex- 
pense and labour of building and endowing others. 

The remembrance of the glorious times of old, and the 
hope of a richer future, are tSl the present can give to art ; 
but dwelling with these thoughts, apart from external in- 
fluences, the knowledge of the beautiful may yet be guarded 
in some faithful hearts, and though no living chords may 
now respond to their's, time must at length give a new im- 
pulse to the soul, and sublimity and beauty once more be- 
come attainable. 

O 4 




9art i. 




In attentively perusing the Decameron, we not only admire 
the great versatility of the author's genius, combing as it is 
with an expert and decided hand in the management of details, 
but discover, besides a certain fixed design in plan and ar- 
rangement, a distinctly conceived and general ideality, framed 
and executed with judgment and intelligence. Where such 
clear intelligence is combined with an instinctive power over 
the mechanism of a work (this latter quality is frequently 
but incorrectly termed genius), the glorious apparition called 
art, which we venerate and welcome as a stranger visitant 
descending from loftier regions, springs at once into ex- 
istence. Art is a created as well as a creative power, and 
under either aspect constitutes perfect organism. The artist, 
whose imagination dictates, or whose hand creates, has a 
personal history and characteristics t of his own, which, as 
embodied in his works, it is the true province of the science 
called criticism to discover and define ; a science, however, 
which is as yet in its infancy. 

The origin of the thing created may justly be regarded as 
of paramount importance, and will indeed form the highest 
point of interest to all whose minds are sufiiciently enlarged 


to grasp the idea in its integrity, and comprehend that most 
glorious beanty which is ever one with truth. 

Trifling as my present undertaking may appear to those 
who conceive that grandeur exists only in broad regular 
masses, there is, I am persuaded, nothing either insignificant 
or unimportant in thus pourtraying the characteristic pecu- 
liarities of an original genius, tracing the circumstances of 
his life, repeated, as it were, in the creations of his fancy, 
and impeding or promoting the development of his intel- 
lectual views. I shall make no attempt to conceal the points 
in which the genius of Boccaccio has failed in the accomplish- 
ment of its object, since even those failures are of value, as the 
necessary steps of approximation to what alone is true and 
perfect, and indicate the loftier eminence, which but for. some 
imperfections of manner or arrangement he might have at- 
tained ; in fact, a poet's genius is often as fully displayed and 
confirmed by his unsuccessful efforts, as in the most tri- 
umphant of his works. 

Li those works of Boccaccio which are generally and almost 
exclusively read, I trace a lofty poetic feeling, an artistic 
skill in design, grouping, and the characters and personages 
introduced, and am thus the more easily induced to study 
such, compositions as are comparatively little known, believ- 
ing that they also will bear witness to the touch of genius. 

With the single exception of the Teseide, I have, I be- 
lieve, procured every work mentioned by Marini, thejg^ 
mentator of the Decameron, fdthough many of pleasure, 
among the rarest treasures of literature.* J^e recollection 

tu^^^P^^'^Tl^ "^""V ^'^^^^^^ editions, nor to con^^ 
juc^Jil^rary and historical coUections as might have givt^ 
me information regarding them. My observations must* 
therefore, be confined entirely to the peculiar character of^ 
each work, as this is in my estimation, the most important 
pomt to be considered. ^ 

},«? w''''^ ?{ Boccaojio being numerous, and manjr, as I 
thZ ^Ir if* w' ^'^^^^^^ly rare, a succinct accost of 
tnose with which I am acquainted can scarcely fail to afford 

ferVvT.'''^*?*^ ^ ^^ **"'«^"« consideration of the Dresden librarian 
vLianiT^"*"*''"'^ ''"'* ''''' ""^'^^ "^'*' '^' Urhano and the AmolZ 



gratification to all trae lovers of poetry ; and as either front 
motives of curiositj, or fw mj own pleasure, I have read all 
tliroi^h, once at l^iist, and many of the best more frequently, 
I may thus make tlie time expanded on their perusal as far 
as is possible of general use. 

My own opinion of the genius and artistic feeling of 
Boccaccio will not perhaps be considered an unwelcome ad* 
dition. Some of my readers may be induced to give a more 
favourable reception to those works of our poet which in 
general are least known and valued, if reminded that among 
the neglected works of Cervantes a Numantia is known to 
exists and that many of the youthful compositions of Shaks* 
peare have been, not merely neglected, but absolutely re* 
jected. The simple reason is, that they are too far above 
the comprehension of ordinaxy minds to be appreciated by 
them, and when such persons presume to judge a poet, of 
whom they are unworthy even to speak, their criticism is 
unavoidably both captious and superficial, since, far from 
penetrating the full depth of his intention, they cannot even 
form the slightest conception of his meaning. Should tho 
correctness of this analogy be disputed, it must at least be 
acknowledged that one work of any prolific author may» 
from certain fayourable circumstances, obtain so great a pre- 
ference above others that the latter, in the course of a few 
^nturies, sink into total oblivion ; still this popularity does 
^^V^^essarUv infer superior merit in the ravoured work, 
"o^^^^ritj of fi^ critics, who arm themselves to 
^"^ N»jb||^gm o^eiiui, without historical science, or even a 

^?'*?'^?!N»aLirt«^aty. M stiU less condosive. 

feelijg for tratfiTSHT»^^;^^^j,,,^j^ . ^^ ^ ^^ 

sttop is repeated almost in the sameWWwS^^:^ 
fitom generation to generation, perhaps for a thonsa^ 
As for example, the commonplace assertion that a gooa 
tStorc^nev^beapoet" The prose writings of Boccacao 
^ most UgUy este^ in Italy, and it is, Aer^re, sup- 
■posed that tUs profound aphorism may with justice be apphed 

*" I wuld not have acquiesced in the justice of tiiis opinion 
even when I had read only Ow Decameron, for an author 
who is capable of writing lyric poetnr witii %"» «* «f^ ,^* 
grace as Boccaccio has done in the framework of «»* "Pj®^- 
did work, must be endowed with a decided talent for poetry. 


The truth at incorrectness of such an assertion will be best 
aseertained by further investigation* 

Before going through the whole series of poems^ it will, for 
man J reasons, be advisable to give a slight abstract of the 
poet's life and history. 

Boccaccio flourished at the period of the revival of Italian 
literature ; when poetry had reached the zenith of its bloom^ 
and the poems and tales of French and Provencal writers, 
either in the original language, or by means of translations 
and imitations, formed the favourite literature of the higher 
classes throughout all Europe. He was bom in the year 
1313, eight years before the death of Dante, and nine years 
later than Fetrareh ; his own death hi^pened in 1374, in the 
same year as that of Petrarch. 

He lived for his art alone, and even in early youth broke 
through the bonds in which his friends would have confined 
him, and spumed the citisen-like happiness a commercial 
life might have procured. His worldly position was conse- 
quently uncertain, and his circumstances generally poor ; still 
he was employed by the Florentines on several important 
embassies, but appears to have been less highly fiivoured 
by the inrinees and nobles of his time than his illustrious 
contemporary Petrarch. As a lover, he offers a complete 
contrast to the sentimental tenderness of the great sonnet 
writer, and yet it may be most truly said of him that he 
lived for love alone. Remarkably handsome and well formed, 
he frequently recurs to this dronmstance as if with pleasure, 
yet not so much from effeminate vanity as in the recollection 
of a youth agreeably spent. In his temperament a powerful 
tendency to voluptuousness was combined with a just and 
true estimation of the worth, character, and natural dispo- 
sition of the object beloved. Notwithstanding his variable 
susceptibiHtv, he failed not to exalt one object pre-eminently 
above all ouiers ; to her he gave the name of Fiammetta, 
and her character, the daring ardour of which is well ex- 
pressed by that name, seems fully to have corresponded with 
his own, and with the boldness which first gained him favour 
in her eyes. Her true name was Maria ; she was the natural 
daughter of King Robert of Naples, herself married to a man 
of rank, and the sister and friend of Joanna of Naples, whose 
unhappy fate she shared. 


It was in Naples that Boccaccio first met Maria, and the 
infiuence of that luxurious region, heightened by the first 
impulses of youthful passion, had a powerful influence in 
developing the poetry of his delicate and sensitive tempera- 
ment. Many of his earlier poems were written at the request 
of Maria ; all have for their theme that beloved one, to whom 
in manhood, when long years had passed since the brief season 
of their happiness, he devoted a noble monument of love and 
poetic talent. 

In considering the earlier works of Boccaccio, I shall first 
mention the Teseide and the Filostrato, and it should be 
remembered that aU his compositions, even when no par- 
ticular date is attached to them, bear sufficient internal 
evidence of their proper chronological order, in contem- 
porary allusions, or historical circumstances; should the 
style of the work also be taken into consideration in fixing 
the period of its production, the difierence between his earlier 
experiments and later works is so striking that each may 
without hesitation be assigned to its proper epoch. 

The Filostrato, a romantic epic poem in stanzas (pitava 
Tifna)y relates the modest history of the loves of the good 
Troilus and the virtuous Oressida, with the friendly in- 
tervention of the noble Pandarus, from whose character, as 
drawn by Shakspeare, every friend who lends his aid in 
promoting the happiness of lovers is called Pandarus, the 
name of the good IVojan having thus passed into a proverb. 
Shakspeare's treatment of this subject in his well-known 
drama* is generally considered somewhat different from that 

• « Troilus and Cresnda is the only play of Shakspeare which he 
allowed to be printed without being previously represented.. It seems 
as if he here for once wished, without caring for theatrical effect, to sa- 
tisfy the nicety of his peculiar wit, and the inclination to a certain guile, 
if I may say so^ in the charaoterbation. The whole is one continued 
irony of that crown of heroic tales, the tale of Troy. The contemptible 
nature of the origin of the Trojan war, the laziness and discord with 
which it was carried on, so that the siege was made to last ten years, are 
only placed in a clearer light by the noble descriptions, the saffe and in- 
genious maxims with which the work orerflows, and the high ideas which 
the heroes entertun of themselves and each other. Agamemnon*s stately 
behaviour, Menelaus* irritation, Nestor's experience, Ulysses* cunning, 
are all productive of no effect ; when they have at last arranged a single 
combat between the coarse braggart Ajax>and Hector, the latter will not 


of Boccaccio, yet the character of the tale is very nearly the 
same, in the first part espedallj. Both are remarkable for 
a subdued vein of irony, weU sustained throughout, and 
accompanied by a certain delicate and refined humour. It 
is a tale, and yet nothing seems to happen ; numerous ar- 
rangements and preparations are made, yet there is neither 
movement nor action; long conversations are held, full of 
heroic sentiments, finely expressed, yet all apparently lead 
to nothing. Still the very folly is amusing, and the ironical 
humour, the contrast between the grandeur of the language, 
inflated even to pomposity, and the roguishness concealed 
under it, has a peculiar charm. This refined grotesque is 
most conspicuous in Boccaccio, from the peculiar descriptive- 
uess of the Italian language ; but the wild and tragic catas- 
trophe, so suddenly introduced at the termination, which in 
Boccaccio appears tame and unmeaning, is treated far more 
efiectively by Shakspeare. 

The language and versification are easy and unstudied ; 
clear, flowing, and very agreeable, though not highly artistic 
in construction. One need not be an Italian to discover that 
the stanzas of Tasso and those of Ariosto, even when most 
careless and unstudied, are far more artistic. Yet I doubt 
whether the exceeding grace of the one, or the classic ele- 
gance of the other, could ever have produced this character- 
istic style of versification. May there not be instances in 
which the poet, with the highest image of perfection in his 
mind| and within his grasp, yet voluntarily returns to the 

fight in ffood earnest, as Ajax is his cousin. Achilles is treated worst: 
a&r having long stretched himself out in arrogant idleness, and passed his 
time in the company of Thersites the bu£Ebon, he fiJls upon Hector at a 
moment when he is defenceless, and kills him hy means of his Myrmidons. 
In all this let no man conceive that any indignity was intended to the 
venerable Homer. Shakspeare had not the Iliad before him, but the 
chivalrous romances of the Trojan war, derived from Dares Pbry^us. 
* * * * In a word, in this heroic comedy, where, from traditional 
fame and the pomp of poetry, everything seems to lay claim to admiration, 
Shakspeare did not wish that any room should be Idft, except, perhaps, in 
the character of Hector, for esteem and sympathy ; but in this double 
meaning of the picture he has afforded us the moat choice entertain- 
ment.** — A. von SeklegePi Dramaiie Literaiwe, p. 419. [Although A. 
▼on Schlegel does not trace the origin of this play back to the Filostrato 
of Boccaccio, his opinion of it seems singularly in harmony with that of 
cm author.— TVvnis.] 


litrelj carelesaaess of his first expeiimentB) coacealing the 
main spirit of the woric under the exterior garb of Puody ? 
Whoeyer has read this delightful little poem, at a favourable 
moment, will certainly not desire to see anj alteration in it 
The versification, too, independently of its appropriateness 
to the subject, claims the merit of having rendered peculiar 
service to the art; for it may be confidently asserted that 
Bojardo, whose stanzas are almost equal in beauty to those 
of Ariosto^ and certainly cannot have been copied from 
Puld, was greatly indebted to his study of Boccaodo ; the 
latter should therefore be consid^%d the earliest master of 
that form of v^^, although he may not, perhaps, be abso- 
lutely entitled to the honour of inventing it^ These observa- 
tions refer to the] Italian stanza alone ; in Provencal poetry 
it was adopted much earlier, and even in Italy, although the 
superior popularity of this work has given it the preference 
above others, it is not possible, by any fixed date of day or 
year, to dedde which is chronologically the first. 

It becomes then impossible to deny our author the gift of 
poetic genius, and to pronounce his attempts utterly value- 
less would immediately compel us to deny the merit of 
many other Italian poets, and assert that Petrarch alone ever 
succeeded in bringing rhyme and metre to perfection. Al- 
though some of the poems of Cervantes are constructed with 
considerable artistic skiU, still they are but few in number, 
and forming our judgment in proportion to the rank assigned 
to Boccaccio, the admired versification of Ariosto at least, if 
not of Tasso also, will scarcely be allowed the name of poetry, 
and shrink into the mere triumph of mechanical skill. It 
must, however, be admitted that the construction of the 
stanza is far from perfect, and this makes it more difficult to 
estimate the precise importance of the service Boccaccio has 
rendered to poetry ; still, even the formation of the stanza, 
however imperfect, cannot be passed over as of slight import- 

If it be thus possible, by refined and intellectual fancy, 
combined with gaiety and social mirth, to transplant into the 
sphere of heroic antiquity the ideas and manners of modern 
times, clothing them in the garb of rhyme and connecting with 
them the name of some far-famed classic hero, — a fiction, in 
which the principal events of the history itself are invented. 


and though in antique, conventional costume, are yet mo- 
dern in spirit and sense, must offer by far the most favourable 
subject for such an attempt The entire poem forms a 
parody, and in the details gives great scope to the imagina- 
tion, whilst the florid abundance of ornament preserves the 
poet from falling entirely into travestie. These considera- 
tions lead us to expect in the Tesdde an unusual degree of 
excellence ; it is a romantic poem in ottava rima, giving the 
history of certain love passages between two Theban war- 
riors of the time of Theseus, Palemon and Arcite, and 
Emilia, the sister of Ihat king. Of this I have seen only 
one copy, a bad prose version, edited by Granucci, in the 
latter part of the sixteenth century. It is scarcely possible, 
in such a version, to discover the character of the fable. It 
becomes a little more intelligible under the treatment of 
Chaucer, who has succeeded in catching the silent, but ex- 
pressive irony of the original, particulariy at the conclusion. 
In that part where Kmilia, having duly mourned the death 
of one icnight, immediately consents to a union with the 
other. This tale is characterised by a great and almost in- 
credible degree of simplicity and ingenuousness. Many 
stories of a sioiilar kind have been transmitted to us from 
tiie good old times, but we rarely meet with any so com- 
pletely rustic as this. The events and their progress are the 
same in Chaucer as in Granucci, but the latter briefly men- 
tions several characters^ some allegorical, and others mere 
creatures of fancy, who, in Chaucer, are altogether omitted, — 
a proof of the ridi development of Boccaccio's powers. Gran- 
ucci also mentions, among the parts which in his ignorance he 
believed it expedient to retrench, many poetical fictions and 
Theban histories, borrowed from Statins. This circumstance 
indicates a marked difference between the Teseide and the 
Filostrato, which we should otherwise have expected to find 
very similar. It must have been highly esteemed long afler 
the death of its author, since it was translated into Greek, as 
weU as the history of Florio and Biancafiore and the Pastor 
Fido of Guarini. Boccaccio himself refers to it in his 
Decameron, where, in one of the interludes, it is said that 
Dioneo and Fiammetta sang the history of Palemon and 

The " Filopono^" which is a prose romance of some length, 


treating of various favourite histories of the middle ages, 
may appropriately take the next place : it has heen trans- 
lated into Spanish and German. Li reading the Ameto, of 
which I shall presently speak, we are strongly inclined to 
regard it as the earliest prose romance of our poet ; its ex- 
aggerated constrained manner seems to stamp it so strongly 
with the character of a first attempt ; it is, however, clearly 
seen, by comparing the allegorical episode in Filopono with 
the personal allusions of the Ameto, that the latter belongs 
to a subsequent period. The Filopono resembles the Ameto, 
not in style alone, but also in the interlocution and the gene- 
ral treatment of the dialogue, which appears to be imitated 
with great vigour and energy from that of the Latin classic 
authors. There is, certainly, a striking contrast between the 
childish simplicity of this romantic fable and the studied 
manner of Filopono ; we recognise, also, a propensity for 
combining things which in themselves are naturally dis- 
cordant ; as, for example, in the opening of the work, where 
Catholic ideas and opinions are clothed in the symbolism 
and language of classic mythology; Juno personifies St. 
Mary, Pluto Satan, &c. &c. : in the conclusion of the ro- 
mance, written some years later, when Florio is described as 
embracing Christianity, he is made to abjure all heathen 
divinities, and more particularly the gods of Greece. This 
romance, however, has more the character of a first trial or 
experiment, than an entire and finished work. It may be 
described, in few words, as an attempt to elevate a simple 
romance into an heroic poem ; a very worthy object, and a 
field in which the poet has few fellow labourers, except in 
one single instance, the ^'Persiles'' of Cervantes, which is 
far more grandly conceived and more happily executed. 
This is my opinion of the '' Filopono," yet it cannot be de- 
nied that the original fiction is much defaced if not entirely 

The story of " Florio and Biancafiore," on which that tale 
was originally founded, is still extant in a Grerman work, 
imitated from the French of Robert of Orleans* by an 

* These poems sUnd first in two volumes of the Myllerischen collee- 
tion, and they are learnedly criticised in £schinburg*s Memorials of old 
German Poetry. Another poetical yersion of this romantic tale has since 

paktl] his flobio akd biakcafiobe. 209 

author who is styled in another poem, " Herr Fleche, the 
good Ck)nrad.'' The story is as follows : two beautiful 
children, both bom on the same daj, are brought up to- 
gether and instructed in poetry and all elegant accomplish- 
ments ; their childish affection ripens unconsciously into 
loYe, and they cling to each other with all the fervent guile- 
less sincerity of youth. The old king, displeased at their 
mutual attachment, sends his son to Mantua, and this mea- 
sure proving ineffectual, afterwards sells Biancafiore to a 
stranger, who carries her to the court of the Sultan of 
Babylon; here, as would naturally be expected, her rare 
beauty leads to her confinement in a strong fortress, guarded 
by a cruel warder. Florio, returning home too late, is told 
that she is dead, and on being shown the splendid tomb 
erected by the old king to give colour to his deception, aban- 
dons himself to the most passionate grief. His mother at 
length reveals the truth to him, and he suddenly departs in 
quest of his beloved.* He soon happily succeeds in finding 
Biancafiore, and lives with her in concealed love and happi- 
ness, till being one day discovered with Biancafiore asleep 
in his arms, both are seized, cruelly bound, and led to exe- 
cution. The sultan, touched by the spectacle of their resist- 
less love and generous self-devotion, grants them life, and 
not only pardons Florio, but makes him his friend, and com- 
mands a splendid wedding banquet to be prepared. Mes- 
sengers unexpectedly arrive during the feast, who bring 
Florio intelligence of his father's death, and urge him to 
tetum immediately, and ascend the throne of the deceased 
king. In conclusion Florio becomes a Christian, and lives 

* In Boccaccio's ▼ersicm, Florio takes the name of Filopono, in refer- 
ence to the hardships he so willingly undergoes, and which indeed he 
welcomes as most accordant with the burden of sorrow imp<»ed upon 
Lis heart. The part in which this circumstance is mentioned can hardly 
be considered spurious, and it appears therefore to clear up the dispute 
concerning the name of the book, which has been corrupted into ** FI1(^ 
colo,**' and then into *' Filocalo»'* as if derived from the Greek word iraAor. 
The fact that the synonyme of the Greek name Filopono already exists 
in Caleone militates strongly against the adoption of Filooolo. flam- 
metta*s lover is named Caleone in our author's earlier poems ; in the 
later, Pamphilo. • 

> Called by Sisinondi Filoeopo. ^ 



long and happily with Biancafiore, who in her thirty-first 
year gives birth to a daughter named Bertha, the same who 
subsequently became the wife of Pepin, and mother of Charle- 
magne, the most illustrious sovereign that ever reigned; 
and finally, being a hundred years of age, both die on the 
same day, and are laid in one grave. There are many 
striking features in the minor details, as, for instance, 
Florio's being conveyed into the seraglio concealed in a 
basket of roses, and his. taking advantage of the cruel 
warder's taste for chess-playing to soften his rugged temper 
and win him to gentleness and indulgence. The tale forms, 
on the whole, a very lovely and tranquil romance, of great 
simplicity and beauty, with few incidents and but little dra- 
matic action, and requiring to be narrated without any mere- 
tricious ornaments or allurements. How remarkable is the 
contrast between this simple fiction and the classical style 
adopted by Boccaccio, the numerous inferior personages and 
events introduced, the prolixity which naturally ensues, and 
finally the crowd of allegorical episodes ! 

One of the most prolix of these episodes is nevertheless very 
curious and interesting, as it appears to contain the germ of 
the Decameron. It describes a society of persons who 
amuse themselves, in the old romantic manner, with discuss- 
ing subtle questions or topics relating to love, — " Questions 
d'amour," as they are called: both question and answer 
being usuaUy given in the form of some slight but appro- 
priate tale. In this romance also, as may well be supposed, 
we recognise Fiammetta. Boccaccio's descriptions of feminine 
persons and attire are always superlatively excellent ; here 

* ** Filocopo, certo tal nome assai meglio ch* alcun altro mi si confa, 
et la ragion perehei la vi dico. Filocopo d da dui gr«ci nomi coposto, da 
philos, et da copos, philos in greco tato uine a dire in nostra lingua 
quato amatore, ct copos in greco similmeote tato in nostra lingua 
rcsulta quato fatica, onde cogiunto insieme, si po dire, amator di &tiea, 

et in cui piii che in me fatiche d* amore siano al presente no so 

Fiacque a tutti l' auiso di Florio, et lo nuoTO nome, e oosi dissero da 
queir hora innazi chiaroarlo infino a tanto che la loro fatica terminata 
fosse con gratioso adepimeto del loro disio." (From H Ftbcopo, libro 
quarto, published at Venice, 1575.) — Trans. 

** Florio aggiunge a Napoli, dove racoolto dalla Fiammetta e da 
Galeone, nome finto del Boccaccio, e da loro ootabilmente intratenuto." 
{FilocopOj libro quinto, p. 186.) — Trtuu, 

pabtl] bib ambto. 211 

he edpedally extols her dark hrilliant eyes, and descrihes 
the impression thej produced upon his heart 

An aathor is not aLwajs the most competent judge of the 
value of his own compositions, and it orequentlj happens 
that a work maj he most decidedly unsuccessful) without his 
heing in any degree aware of the failure. He alone can 
appreciate the grandeur of his aim, the earnest struggle of 
his genius, and thus is frequently led to attach peculiar 
value to a favourite production, and judging it from his own 
standard, to estimate it far too highly. It seems, therefore, 
quite possible that Boccaccio himself may have valued the 
Filopono very highly, preferring it even to the Decameron : 
he certainly bestowed infinitely more labour upon it than on 
the latter. 

The subjects introduced as episodes into the Filopono form 
the sole contents of the Ameto, which is an allegorical 
romance throughout. It is founded on the circumstance of 
a rude shepherd hind being elevated and ennobled by the 
creative power of love, and is related in the usual style of 
such pastoral tales. The manner of this transformation, 
however, is no further developed ; the chief portion of the 
interest being sustained by seven women, whose persons and 
attire are elaborately described. Each of these women gives 
in turn an account of her family and descent, her fate in 
life, and especially the history of her first and earliest love, 
concluding with & hymn in terza rima, addressed to some 
goddess of antiquity. Ameto himself is merely a silent 
spectator. The incidents in the tale are few and unconnected, 
and the book opens and concludes with a few general obser- 
vations on the passion of love. Still there is an individual 
truth in the histories related, which stamps each character 
with reality, and would alone, without any previous informa- 
tion, convince the reader that the poet intended to describe 
his own personal friends. All, however, finally fade into 
aUegory, and are made to personify the four earthly and 
three heavenly virtues. The histories are clothed in the 
garb of mythology, and Catholic ideas are presented under 
this old mythical language, as in the opening of Filopono. 
The family and descent of each lady is dwelt upon as of 
great importance, and wherever it is possible, a history of 
her native country or city is superadded. Both in style and 

p Q 


language it strongly resembles the most valuable histories of 
the ancients. The characteristic features, above noticed, will 
convey some idea of the unusual construction of this romance. 
The form of the verse is irregular, and the periods confused ; 
it wants the graceful vivacity of his sonnets and canzonets, 
and although treating entirely of classical subjects in antique 
language and imagery, is very deficient in vigour and inter- 
est, and appears in general tame and insipid. The prose, 
on the contrary, is admirable, and in some parts incomparably 
beautiful. Many of the tales would bear comparison in point 
of style with the best in the Decameron. The character of 
Dioneo is, perhaps, the most striking among those of the 
lovers here portrayed, and the peculiar decision and par- 
tiality with which it is drawn, will stamp it indelibly on the 
mind of every reader. In describing the persons and appro- 
priate allegorical attire of the women, Boccaccio has almost 
surpassed himself. It would be difficult in any other romantic 
poet, Cervantes alone excepted^ to find descriptions of attire 
at aU comparable to these, from the rich painter-like skill 
with which they are imagined. 

It will be easily supposed that Fianmietta is not absent 
from this company of noble and lovely dames : she personi- 
fies Hope, and is described as clad in green robes, with a 
;bow and arrow in her hand; her head-dress is of gold and 
pearls, surmounted by a garland of red and white roses. She 
relates the daring boldness through which her lover won her 
favour. Though feir beneath her in birth and station, they 
had frequently met and conversed, but never alone, nor had 
he ever had an opportunity of declaring his passion, until 
once, during the absence of her husband, he found means to 
conceal himself in her apartment, armed only with a dagger 
and his own dauntless spirit; then discovering himself to 
her, he revealed his love, the history of its origin and growth, 
declaring that should she refuse to listen to him he was 
firmly resolved to die by his own hand, and in her presence. 
Their conversation, Fiammetta's astonishment and secret 
emotion ; his earnest, irresistible pleadings, — all are depicted 
with such vivid truth and glowing eloquence, that we feel no 
surprise when the ardour of his impassioned affection at 
length triumphs over every obstacle. Boccaccio has intro- 
duced this same adventure, with some slight alterations, into 


another of his tales^ and frequently recurs to it with evident 
pleasure and delight 

A date in the story of Emilia proves the Ameto to have 
been written later than the year 1340 ; it must therefore be 
numbered among the latest youthful efforts of our poet 
Leah seems from her position to be the chief personage 
among the seven : she personifies Faith, and is already known 
by Dante having made her the symbol of Contemplation, * 

The symbolism of Dante exercised as powerful an influence 
on Boccaccio as on Petrarch, drawing both poets completely 
out of their own proper sphere. To the unhappy operation 
of this reverence for a superior but dissimilar genius, we owe 
the " Amorosa Visione " a poem in terza rima, containing 
merely a simple allegory of happiness and love, into which 
nearly all the erotic poetry of the ancients is interwoven ; 
but this treatment does not produce the eflect of novelty, and 
rather justifies the unfavourable opinion usually entertained 
of Boccaccio's poetical talent If the Trionfi ot Petrarch be 
considered as an unsuccessful imitation, what can be said of 
the Visione, ranking as it does so far below the Trionfi ? it is, 
indeed, the only work of Boccaccio's which it cost me great 
determination and self-command to read to the end. Most of 
the allegorical personages mentioned in the Ameto, and with 
whom we are already acquainted, are repeated here. One 
surprisingly ingenious contrivance deserves notice: the 
initial letters of each tezzetto, throughout the poem, form a 
kind of preface, consisting of two sonnets to Fiammetta, and 
one canzonet, addressed to the reader. 

The Decameron ranks first among the productions of 
Boccaccio's manhood, both from its internal character, and the 
period at which it was written ; the first part appeared in 
lS55y at which time Boccaccio was forty years of age. The 
plot is an imitation of the Urbano : in the latter romance 
numerous unfortunate fatalities occur, ending in a satisfac*- 
tory adjustment and general happiness. The treatment 
resembles that of the grand serious novels in the Decame- 
ron, except that the Urbano is somewhat more developed, 
and ought therefore to gain rather than lose by the compari- 

* Venturi, in his notes on Dante, canto second, explains Rachel to he 
the symbol of contemplative, and Leah of active life ; the prototypes of 
Mary and Martha in Uie New Testament. — TVom. 

p 3 


son. We might question whether our author intended to com- 
mence with one single experiment before treating the great 
mass of his novels, or designed and carried out at once his 
general outline to develope it more fully afterwards. The 
former supposition appears the most probable, as in the latter 
case the difference in details would have been more striking, 
and the design itself more remarkable in scope. I should 
rather cite the Ninfale Fiesolano as an instance of one single 
story worked up into an independent tale of poetic form, em- 
bracing the favourite cycle of mythological ideas and costume, 
and I am confirmed in this opinion, by the fact that the story of 
Africo and Menzola may clearly be recognised as forming the 
groundwork of the Ninfale. It is a long and pleasing poem, 
vigorous and animated ; the only example to be found of a 
versified novel, or a romantic epic poem in such small com- 
pass. Boccaccio here confirms by his example what Cervantes 
and Shakspeare have already proved ; that a single original 
subject may be rendered sufficiently interesting, and that it 
is not necessary to combine a whole Flora of tales into a 
romantic banquet or symposium; yet, in the Decameron 
this is so beautifully done, that it seems to stand above the 
restraint of all ordinary rules, an enduring example for suc- 
ceeding authors. The language of this poem has more free- 
dom and elevation than usual, yet the stanza retains all its 
original grace and vivacity. We might even compare it to 
the poetical style of Poliziano, in those famous stanzas of his 
from which Ariosto learned so much for his own versification : 
the free flight and antique vigour of the style are unrivalled 
in later Itcdian poetry. 

The ^* Lab3rrinth of Love, or the Scourge," appeared, as 
we judge from a certain indication in the body of the work, 
nearly at the same time as the ^^ Decameron*** The plot is 
well contrived, and the style excellent; yet the peculiar 
favour with which this work has been regarded may be partly 
attributed to the circumstance that it is, as announced by 
the title, a sufficiently decided satire on the female sex. It 
is mentioned under this title as a most famous book, and in- 
troduced, among other old poems, in the Spanish Can^ionero. 
The author, speaking in the poem in his own person, re- 
lates, that having been unfortunate in love, and even scorn- 
fully ]:ejected by the object of his passion, he had formed 


the design of destrojiDg himself: his internal conflict, and 
long meditations and reflections are fully described, till at 
length he becomes so far tranqniUised, that he resolves 
again to enter the society of his fellows and taste the plea- 
sures of social existence. Still further soothed by this de- 
termination, he once more sleeps calmly, and sees a vision, 
from which, as may easily be imagined, the poem takes its 
title, " The Labyrinth of Love." Li his vision, he meets 
with an aged man, no mythical figure, but, on the con- 
trary, the deceased husband of the scornful lady. The old 
man has no ideal notions of woman-worth, and gives the 
lover so ample and detailed an account of all the imperfec- 
tions, physical and mental, with which the lady of his love 
is burdened, that his passion is eflectually subdued, and him- 
self restored to reason. Greneral invectives against the sex 
appear to be necessary accompaniments of the subject ; yet 
personal revenge, of which Boccaccio, under such circum- 
stances was undoubtedly very susceptible, had probably the 
greatest share in its origin. 

Boccaccio's " Life of Dante " is extremely valuable, not 
only as a memoir of that great poet, but from the manly 
eloquence of the style ; it must not, however, be judged 
simply as biography, since it was rather a discourse ad- 
dressed to the Florentines, an apology or defence of their 
exiled poet. That it accomplished its object is best proved 
by the fact, that Boccaccio was afterwards retained by the 
republic to give lectures on the works of Dante. 

Boccaccio's general opinion of Dante is somewhat remark- 
able. He holds his poetry to be the material veil, the 
earthly garb enveloping things invisible and divine, and 
therefore considers it a kind of Theology, more intelligible 
and pleasing than the science to which that name is usually 
given. Yet Boccaccio certainly does not understand the 
term Allegory in the same lofty sense which his acquaint- 
ance with the^ ancients, and with Dante liimself, would lead 
us to expect ;' but rather indicates by this title the empty 
symbolic discourses of mere teachers of morality. Still the 
old idea of poetry, as conceived by Boccaccio, is indeed a 
deeply rooted and productive principle, and has far more 
reatity than the hollow notions imbibed from foreigners, and 
which, insipid and soulless as they are, self-styled critical 

p 4 


philosophers have elevated into a science, and stamped with 
the title of ^Esthetics. I mean those very barren ideas 
which lead to representations in which no idea of nature is 
existing, and conceptions of beauty in which the idea of 
divinity or spirituality has no part. 

We meet with similar opinions on the subject of poetry 
in Boccaccio's later works on Ancient Mythology, which 
however do not lie within our sphere at present ; neither 
can we notice those on the History of Philology, and the 
reproduction of ancient literature. I cannot refrain from 
mentioning, that in drawing up these later works, he appears 
to have been greatly influenced by the writings and ex- 
ample of Petrarch, whom he regarded with unbounded 
reverence. There is also in all his learned works a remark- 
able tendency to promote the revival of ancient mythology, 
and give new life and vigour to the promulgation of its sym- 
bolism. The same design forms the groundwork of his 
poetry, as may be seen in many instances, when old fables 
and the attributes of the heathen gods are unsuccessfully 
applied, and still more in the idea which he, in common 
with many other poets of the old school, boldly conceived, of 
framing from the allegorical materials of their own time a 
new and peculiar sort of mythology. A fertile idea, in the 
attempt to execute which many great masters of modem 
poetry were wrecked. 

I have still to speak of the " Fiammetta," that wonderful 
tribute of affection which Boccaccio, when in the zenith of 
his intellectual powers and poetic gifts, dedicated as an un- 
dying memorial to the glory of his youth's beloved. It is a 
novel in several books, or rather discourses, in which Fiam- 
metta speaks in her own person, depicts her brief happiness 
in glowing colours, and the sudden separation by which it 
was too early blighted. This, however, is but the com- 
mencement of the book, the chief part of which relates to 
her grief at that separation ; her longing passionate re- 
gret, which is fondly dwelt upon, with all the wayward follies 
into which her suffering betrayed her. The distracting 
jealousy, in the midst of which hope nevertheless dawned 
upon her heart, rising higher and higher, till just as she 
seemed to reach the summit, it proved but a delusion and 
deceit : then as time passed on and she received no tidings of 


her beloved, the sorrow which oppressed her became daily 
more intense and deeply rooted, till at length resigning herself 
to hopeless despair, she lived on in the silent angoisb of eternal 
grief. There are few incidents in this novel, few person- 
ages or characters are introduced; everything is largely 
imagined and taken in a general and universal sense. It is 
love, and only love. The entire work is inter-penetrated 
with longing love, mournful complainings, and concealed but 
passionate and fervent affection. Even the charm which 
might be derived from an imitation of the feminine style in 
writing is disdained as unworthy the grandeur of this elegy, 
which might be laid as an offering on the altar of love, with 
the sonnets of Petrarch, and the finest poems of antiquity. 

As I dare not anticipate that every pne who believes him- 
self capable of deciding on the lofty heaxxty of a fine and deli- 
cate subject, simply worked out, will coincide with me in my 
opinion of the merit of any work so entirely subjective, I will 
merely speak of it in reference to the style, which stamps it, in 
the opinion of every intelligent reader, as one of the finest 
productions of our author. One uniform tone is preserved 
throughout ; the charm of variety in langui^e, manner, and 
colouring, is disdained. Cervantes, from the flexibility of 
his prose writings, and the rich use he makes of light and 
shade, every change of which seems but to wait his bidding 
to give expression and grandeur to his style, and prove at 
the same time the elevation to which he could raise it at 
pleasure, is a far more fascinating writer than Boccaccio, even 
in the *^ Decameron." Yet I must assert, without prejudice 
w partiality, that although Cervantes is decidedly the 
greatest, perhaps with the exception of Boccaccio the only, 
prose writer of the Romantic era, we find nothing in his 
works at all comparable to the '' Fiammetta," in the lofty 
beauty and internal perfection and development of the style. 
It may be affirmed, without exaggeration, that the most 
graceful and exquisite passages of the " Decameron " appear 
but as distant echoes and aspirations when compared with the 
expressive excellence of that work. If the most exalted 
characteristics of modem poetry were not so often forgotten 
and denied, it would not be necessary to enter into a critical 
disquisition on this noble example of the simplest yet 
highest development of the poetic art. 


Boccaccio attained this excellence in tbe formation of his 
style one jear only after producing the ^ Ameto." StiU, 
nothing disproves the possibility of the *' Fiammetta" haying 
been written earlier &an the *' Decameron," and there are 
no external indications to guide us in forming a conclusive 
opinion. Whether it be placed prior to or after the *^ De- 
cameron," in point of time, there can be no question that 
his genius as a poet, and the perfection of which his style 
was susceptible, must be estimated from this work, which is 
in every particular so strikingly elegant and refined. 

To attempt to describe the ^* Decameron** would be super- 
fluous, and my preceding observations on other works of 
Boccaccio will make the framework or setting of that ro- 
mance incomparably more intelligible to those whose ac- 
quaintance widi his productions is confined to this work only; 
for his favourite method of interweaving a garland of lovely 
tales, with a well-grounded and almost geometrically arranged 
picture of his familiar circle, may be traced in various gra- 
dations throughout all his earlier works. The characteristics 
of the ^'NoveUe" must be sought in each separate tale, for each 
has its own specific distinct character and peculiar stamp ; 
and as many among them have been imitated or remodelled 
by masters of importance, their imitations must be compared 
with the treatment of Boccaccio himself, and this if possible 
at the source which we very often can neither find nor have 
means of possessing. £very poetical version, or other artistic 
alteration of a tale, leads to endless diversity of narration, 
yet some original features must be left, from which the foreign 
treatment is easily discerned, whether it be in harmony 
with the groundwork or not It would be very advan- 
tageous to our theory to trace one single novel through the 
whole course of various remodellings and alterations which 
it may have undergone ; but I must not here venture on so 
discursive an attempt, it being my intention to confine myself 
to the study of one single master. It may not, however, be 
irrelevant to the subject to point out in few words such 
general characteristics of that branch of literature as may 
lead to the establishing a correct idea of its requirements. 
The method I shall pursue for the attainment of my 
object win perhaps be thought somewhat singular. In the 
first place, I shall consider the productions of that poet, who 


may justly claim the distinction of having been the first 
inventor of the novel and the founder of that style, and seek, 
by examining his works, to find a due to the individual 
peculiarities of the entire fiamily. 

We cannot hope to trace a poet's general character with 
any degree of correctness, until we have discovered his true 
place in that circle of art of which he forms but an isolated 
member. His compositions must be carefully compared 
with such others as appear to be the basis of any cycle of 
art ; and an individual who understands the general spirit 
which ought to animate a novel, and is not deficient in 
earnest and serious study, will have no reason to com- 
plain of want of success in his experiment, nor will he 
find it a difficult task to trace the outward representation 
back to its origin, and discover its source and internal orga- 
nisation. I allude to this merely as indicating the sort of 
mental acquiescence which I must bespeak for the following 

It is undoubtedly true that Dante, the seer and inspired 
priest of nature, the enlightened poet of Catholic faith and 
knowledge, rose far above the usual limits of Italian genius, 
and 'stands, as it were, removed from all comparison with 
other poets of his nation. Therefore, in contemplating the 
poetry of that country under one general aspect, and allowing 
what I have here merely assumed to be known and acknow- 
ledged, because the proof of its correctness would require 
to be too deeply investigated, and carry me too far from my 
present purpose, in tracing the general development of 
Italian poetry, so great a poet as I>uite ought not to be in- 
cluded in our retrospect 

Guarini also is more free from nationality than most 
other poets of his country. The object he seeks to attain is 
far difiTerent from theirs; ideal beauty is his only aim, 
and this he seeks, not in the highest artistic perfection, nor 
in the incomparable depth and ease of his delineations, but 
rather in antique inspiration, and the full burst of harmony. 
To this source we may trace his classical grace and elegance, 
and the harmonious power of his language and arrangement. 
In whatever estimation his subjects may be held, he;certainly 
stands alone in regard to style, and has neither prototype 
nor imitator among the Italian poets. The beautifully classic 


language of Tasso is of a different character, and distinctly 
belongs to the elements of romantic love and grace. Even 
his imitations of classic idylls are in the same tone, and 
though his beautiful style is unalloyed by any intermixture 
of national peculiarities, the element of antique beauty is 
less predominant in him than in Guarini. 

It is not thus with Ariosto, Petrarch, and Boccaccio : they 
all bear alike the strongest marks of the national charac* 
teristic, stamped in features never to be mistaken; their 
manner and versification have been adopted, indeed, as 
national, and are distinctly seen in all the old poetry of that 
country. Italian literature seems filled up by a countless 
host of imitators, some among whom have a certain degree 
of merit, although inferior to their prototypes, in whom we 
find the germ of Ariosto, and sometimes even of Petrarch. 
Yet the same fact is apparent both in the predecessors and 
followers of any particular master, namely, that they differ 
only in the degree of artistic feeling and cultivation. 

I consider Dante, Italian as he is, and betrays himself 
to be by his mannerisms in style and expression, to be 
removed quite out of the sphere of their ordinary national 
poetry by his vast comprehensive genius and poetical in« 
vention. Guarini is also, as it were, an episode in Italian 
national poetry, the peculiar characteristics of which are 
best defined by a reference to the style of Boccaccio, Petrarch, 
and Ariosto. The language of Tasso appears to me almost 
perfect, pure from any national peculiarities, and not con- 
fined within the conventional Iknits of romantic beauty. 
He does not, however, attain the same height of excellence 
in the extent and importance of details. 

The sonnets of Petrarch, if examined with the eye of 
taste, strike us most vividly from the super-excellent and 
wondrouQ objective art employed in the treatment of themes 
so entirely and remarkably subjective. The beauty and 
harmony of both arrangement and material appear to de* 
pend on the objective and subjective tendency being com- 
bined in due proportions : together with that exquisite skill 
in mechanism and imagery which each Italian poet so 
earnestly, strove to attain. In Petrarch, both are harmo- 
niously blended. Ariosto leans rather to the side of objective 
clearness. Boccaccio's works, on the contrary, are remark- 


able for their strong subjective tendencj. If this peculiarity 
is not to be regarded as a fault, but rather as in accordance 
with direct principles of art, requiring an author either to 
describe his own personal feelings with the greatest possible 
truth and intensity, or else to transfuse them, as it were, 
into his imaginative works, revealing them, through the 
medium of mysterious yet intelligible images, the Fiammetta 
must be allowed to possess all these properties in the greatest 
brilliancy and perfection ; and if our idea of the cbsuracter 
of the novel be formed in reference to this tendency of the 
painter's genius, we shall gain a fixed central point from 
whence to form a judgment of all his works, which will then 
be considered, not as arbitrary experiments, vacillating and 
wavering between both elements, or striving ineffectually 
to unite them, but as preparatory works, approximating 
more or less to the true ideal of the novel, as embodied in 
the Fiammetta. 

A romance must indeed be entirely personal, subjective in 
design and intention, conveying indirectly, and almost sym- 
bolically, the deepest individual feelings and peculiarities of 
the author. I could easily multiply examples in support of 
this assertion, and would ask, in the first place, why among 
the novels of Cervantes, when aU are so exquisite, do some 
appear so much more beautiful than others ? By what magic 
are our hearts sometimes touched, and our souls exalted to 
the perception of a wondrous and unanticipated beauty, 
except by the strong individuality and personal feeling which 
pierces, almost unconsciously as it were, through the language 
of fiction, and the veil of poetic feeling ; or because the 
singular ideas therein expressed are employed to convev such 
opinions of his own, as from their personality and profound, 
ness could scarcely have been imparted under any other form. 
Why does the Romeo of Shakspeare stand so far above all the 
other dramas of that poet, except that in the first delighted 
gush of youthful passion and enthusiasm he deemed that work 
a fitting shrine for the outpouring of his emotion, with which 
the entire poem thus became filled and interpenetrated. No 
particular dissertation can be necessary to prove that such 
indirect revelations of personal feeling are in many instances 
far more affecting and appropriate than its undisguised ex- 
pression in simple lyric effusions, and the slight mystery en- 


vdoping the sentiinent invests it with a higher chanD. The 
DOTd is in the same manner peculiarly fitted for similar 
mysterious allusions to the subjective feeling and personally 
of love, because, though objective in slyle and formation, 
dwelling circumstanticJly on descriptions of character and 
costume, it nevertheless gives a general view of the manners 
and sentiments of that refined society, to which it owes its 
origin, and which has ever been its peculiar home. Thus, 
too, it rose into existence in the ago of chivalry, when religion 
and refinement of manners constituted the essential elements 
of society in the noblest portion of £un^>e. These peculiar 
features belong to the character of the romance itself. It is 
an anecdote, a history as yet unknown, and related, as one 
might in society relate a tsde, the interests of which centers 
entirely in itself, without any reference either to time^ 
national feeling, or the progress of humanity, and the degree 
of civilisation. It is a history, which, strictly speaking, 'be- 
longs not to history, and which, even in its birth, brings with 
it into the world a foundation for irony. The interest of the 
narration rests entirely on its form and treatment, which 
ought to be generally recognised as pleasing or remarkable^ 
and the skill and art of the narrator should soar proportion- 
ately higher, because the charm of the narration depends on 
his style and treatment. The interest may be kept np^ 
and the listener amused by any agreeable trifle, an anecdote, 
or even less than an anecdote, and every other thought being 
completely excluded by the rich inventive faculty of the 
author, his readers not only yield themselves willingly to the 
pleasing deceit, but enter with genuine interest into the 
details of the most trifling events. Many of the tales in the 
Decameron belong to this class, those especially in the later 
Florentine portion, which are little more than fanciful inven- 
tions. The Licenciado Vidriera, of Cervantes, is by far the 
most beautiful and intellectual tale of this description. But, 
as in good society, people are usually disposed to listen with 
pleasure to any trifling anecdote, if the manner of the narra- 
tor be refined, polished, and agreeable, so the germ and 
origin, both of the novel and of these lesser productions, is 
the same. StiU, charming as the peculiar humour of the 
author may be, a constant repetition of the same theme 
would soon produce weariness instead of pleasure* There- 


fore, when the first bloom of invention is exhausted, a judi- 
cioQB author frequently selects some already familiar point 
in history, and so transforms it by his manner of relating, 
that it becomes invested with all the grace of novelty : a 
number of appropriate themes will immediately present 
themselves to his mind, all of an ol:jective character, and 
more or less interesting; but in selecting one from their 
number, he must be guided by his own subjective or per- 
sonal inclination, which will undoubtedly lead him to prefer 
those which refer with a greater or less perfect expression 
to his peculiar feelings and circumstances. How, indeed, 
would it be possible to listen with attentive interest to any 
narrator, supposing his histories to be devoid of internal 
connexion, either with history or mythology, unless he 
inspire us with some dawning interest in himself personally ? 
We too frequently see this natural property of the novel en- 
tirely overlooked and disregarded, while an attempt to give 
the highest finish possible to the work entirely destroys that 
essential element of art, which I should style symbolism, 
since through its medium the subjective or personal feeling 
of the author reveals itself in its fullest power and intensity. 
By whatever name this property may be designated, it will 
always be distinctly and decidedly recognised as the highest 
point of excellence in romance or novel writing. 

At this point the question naturally arises, as to which of 
Boccaccio's novels contains the fullest measure of personal 
and individual feeling. I should undoubtedly mention the 
history of Africo and Menzola ; the Ninfale Fiesolano ; the 
influence of love softening and bringing to perfection the 
rude masculine vigour of youth — a glowing ardent voluptu- 
ousness, and imdisguised sense of enjoyment — happiness too 
quickly interrupted by sudden separation — the anguish of 
parting — the passionate sorrow of the lovers, and their im- 
petuous and impatient wish for death. These are everywhere 
the characteristic ideal features of Boccaccio's love. 

Many other novels in the Decameron will however be- 
come more expressive and intelligible, if associated with 
our recollections of the Fiammetta, or even Corbaccio. 

The^ poetry of the new era was, at its commencement^ ne- 
cessarily wild and untrained, that original and natural 
founts that exhibition of the divine agency whence it derives 


its immediate idea of nature and inspiration, being either 
eBfectuallj sealed, or at best but scantily effused ; so differ- 
ences of rank and station produced a variety of literature 
suited to all classes. Romances, heroic tales of war, the 
legend, so often poetically treated ; lives of saints for devo- 
tional reading, and novels in the new poetical style, composed 
expressly for the refined society of the highest circles. 

A novel, if neither political nor social, is an original tale ; 
and if it is occasionally otherwise such instances must be 
regarded as permitted, perhaps necessary, but still at the 
same time isolated exceptions ; consequenUy, for prose-histo- 
ries, the style of Boccaccio appears the most natunil and con- 
genial that could be adopted. These remarks are by no means 
intended to censure the dramatising of any novel that 
seems to offer materials for that purpose ; but it may secure to 
him who has been the subject of this critique his well- 
merited fame as inventor and originator of that branch of 

9art H. 


An attachment to foreigners, and a desire to visit distant 
countries, seems like an innate and almost instinctive impulse 
implanted in the German character : the beauty of the South, 
especially, has for the German an irresistible fascination; 
proud in the consciousness of his own serious feeling and 
northern vigour, his heart nevertheless yearns for every 
haunt of beauty in those lovely lands as for its ancient home. 

This passion is co-existent with the history of the Teutonic 
race ; prompted by this feeling, hosts of German warriors 
overran the southern provinces of the old Roman empire : 
this impulse in the Middle Ages fettered Germany to Italy, 
and finally, in the time of the Crusades, prompted their 
attempt to subjugate the East 

So many changes have since occurred in the political life 


of the German nation, which now seems tempered into a 
sort of tranquil equilibrium, that this discursive inclination 
is bj necessity confined in the present day within the pro- 
vince of science and the arts, — a realm in which no limits 
arrest the progress of the human mind, or check its natural 
thirst for conquest and dominion. 

Their inquiring spirit consequently expends itself in a 
restless yet laudable activity, ever seeking with unwearied 
diligence to bring to light new sources of truth and beauty, 
to discover the neglected treasures of other nations, and 
reproduce them, in new vigour and animation, as incor- 
porated elements of their native literature. If Germans per- 
severe in the course they have hitherto adopted, all the 
literary treasures of other lands will ere long be associated 
with their own« 

This feeling and spirit leads us to attach much value to 
the labours of a few excellent poets, whose chief occupation 
it has long been to transplant into Uieir own soil the flowers 
of Italian and Spanish poetry, the blooming freshness and 
beautiful imagery of that highly-finished versification appear- 
ing peculiarly fitted to brighten and adorn the stem northern 
genius of our old German poetry. Still these e£fbrts will 
never lead to a successful issue without a fundamental 
knowledge of that lovely branch of southern verse pre-emi- 
nently styled Romantic. Our best poets and most learned 
men are, it is true, well acquainted with both Italian and 
Spanish poetry, yet many blanks remain to be filled up, and 
many deficiencies to be supplied. I shall first notice a few 
of the most remarkable treasures contained in the Bibliotheque 
Boyale at Paris, which will naturally lead to a closer investi- 
gation of the character and subject of the materials there 
existing, and enable us to form a more correct estimate of 
their relative value and importance. 

Portuguese poetry being in general but little known, I 
propose to dwell with particular attention upon its history, 
and carefully to examine all such specimens as I have here 
been able to meet with. The source and origin of Romantic 
poetry, which may be traced back to the later Latin, will not, 
of course, be neglected in these researches ; and in order at 
least to open the way for further study of Romantic and Pro- 
ven9al poetry, I shall subjoin a few observations on such ma- 



226 ON BOKAimc poetbt. [part n. 

terials contained in this library as will be likelj to afford 
aasistanoe in the prosecution of such an undertaking. 

I must notioe, in the first place, one extremely rare poem 
of Boccaccio — ** The Teseide'' — and thus supply the blank 
which, being then unable to obtain access to the original, I 
was compelled to leave unfilled in the preceding account of 
Boccaccio and his works. Misled by Grranucd's yersion, 
Chaucer^s adaptation, and, above all, by Boccaccio himself 
and his treatment of the Filostrato, I then attempted, from 
conjecture, to form an ideal scheme of the work, which I 
now find to require some slight emendations. It seems 
natural enough to dass the Teseide and Filostrato together, 
both being narrative poems in ottava rima, both romantic 
love-tales, the incidents of both laid in an early period, and 
both productions of the poet's youth. Yet they are widely 
distinct in character ; we do not recognise in the Teseide the 
graceful lightness and sportive irony with which the love 
passages of Troilus and Cressida are related. The Teseide 
is serious throughout, occasionally dry and tedious, and its 
most beautiful passages belong rather to the tragic style. In 
fact, the value of this work consists m its rarity, and its fame 
is consequently rather disproportionate to its actual poetic 
merit. It certainly is not one of Boccaccio's happiest efforts, 
and scarcely repays the trouble of labouring through it. 

The romances of Boccaccio are unquestionably the most 
valuable of his works ; yet our admiration ought not to be 
confined to the " Decameron," but should extend also to the 
*< Filipono," and the still more surprising *^ Ameto," both of 
which appear to be expressive experiments in art, preparing 
the way for grander compositions in the loftiest historic^ 
style. The design of the '^ Fiammetta," although so short a 
work, is more remarkable than either, and its style the most 

An acquaintance with these different schemes or experi- 
ments is not merely useful and appropriate, but even indis- 
pensably necessary ; for if the spirit of old romance, in all 
its rich abundance, becomes more widely diffused among us, 
imaginative histories, reproduced in all their multiplied 
variety and peculiar forms, may yet bring back, in its earlier 
beauty, the spring-time of romance and love. 

The history of every art is an integral subject, and no branch 
of it ought to be treated singly ; it is not, therefore, sufiicient 


merelj to relate the personal history of any artist of active 
and comprehensiTe genius, nor to trace the prc^press of bis 
most peifect creations through preceding experiments, and 
thus <iUscoYer its due connexion with all those eaiiier efforts : 
the influence it exercised on his later works, and its relation 
with after-times, must also be considered ; for the intrinsic 
character of any composition, and the rank it holds in the 
entire series, stand in the closest possible connexion. The 
position occupied bj Boccaccio among later Italian poets is 
directly opposed to that of Petrarch. 

The later poetry of the Italians might, like their painting 
(and, perhaps, even with more justice), be divided into the 
Florentine azid Lombard schools. The latter comprehends 
Ariosto, Tasso, Gnarini, and other poets^ or friends of poetry, 
assembled in the court of that famous Duke of Ferrara, whose 
noble patronage of art has been immortalised by Goethe in 
his " Torquato Tasso." In the Florentine school I number 
Poliziano, Pulci, Lorenzo de' Bledici, and others resembling 
them in style and character. The poetry of this school was 
infinitely more lofty in its tendency than that of the Lom« 
bards, yet it never fulfilled the grandeur of its intention, and, 
consequently, has never enjoyed an equal degree of fame. 
The difference of style forms Uie most remarkable distinction 
between those schools. The former chose for their model 
Petrarch's ideal beauty of language, while the severe, bold 
manner of the Florentines has more affinity with Boccaccio, 
whose style harmimises fully with the serious and even harsh 
character of his nation. The language of Petrarch, on the 
contrary, is framed almost entirely after foreign examples. 

A collection of the poetic works of JVIichdangelo excited 
great interest in my mind from the grand genius of the man 
himself; yet the poems do not fulfil the anticipations of lofty, 
bold originality to wliich that name gives birth. Few among 
them bear the stamp of peculiar genius, and some scarcely 
rise above mediocrity. 

This collection is edited by a nephew and namesake of 

that great artist. It contains but few canzonets, the poems 

being chiefly sonnets and madrigals ; the latter differ slightly 

from those, of Guarini, and of most other Cinquecentisti ; 

the language is frequently more bold and original, but less 




The first productions of Spanish, or (to speak more pro* 
perlj in reference to earlier times) of Castilian poetry, are 
very simple. Ballads seem to present the distinctive national 
feature of poetic art, and their tender accent and musical 
cadence is accompanied by a witty play upon words, quite 
peculiar to that people, and which coidd scarcely be equalled 
in any other language. Tales of chivalry and knight-errantry 
form the next distinctive feature of Spanish literature. The 
" Amadis " is, perhaps, the most worthy of attention, not on 
account of the superior beauty of the style alone, but as hav- 
ing given rise — at least I may say so of Spain—- to numerous 
chivalric compositions of a mmilar kind. This style of ro- 
mantic fiction, however, originated with the French Trou- 
v^es, though, like many other materials emanating from the 
same source, it owed its first regular construction to the 
Italians^ Germans, or Spanish. The musical and lyric spirit 
of old Castilian poetry adapted itself with peculiar facility to 
the character of the metrical romance, and traces of these 
early ballads are recognised in many later works, in many 
romances, and in the Don Quixote. I may mention here 
that Cervantes had projected a serious chivalric romance, 
which he never completed. 

Simple, indeed, were the first elements of Spanish poetry ; 
ballads, and tales of chivalry, both, too, of the least compli* 
cated form. How great a contrast to the studied and com* 
prehensive character of the poetry of Italy, which even from, 
its birth aspired at universal dominion ; all the learning of the 
time, poetry and music, history and philosophy, being as it 
were bound up with it in perpetual union. 

At a subsequent period, however, the Italians retreated 
within the circle of a severe nationality, and were either 
content to adopt what earlier poets had borrowed from the 
Proven9al, or tiiey themselves ventured on the hazardous ex- 
periment of imitating classical antiquity. 

It was not thus with Castilian poetry ; extending on every 
side, it incorporated with itself foreign forms and stranger 
charms, combining the most various romantic element^ 
until its glowing and fanciful creations at length expanded, 
like flowers of perfect brilliancy, clad in every varied hue. 

The early Cft^tilians unquestionably borrowed certain pecu- 
liar forms of versification and construction from the Provengal 
and Yalencian poets ; still their influence was but of trifling 


extent, and soon altogether ceased to operate. It is not easy 
to decide exactly how much Castilian poets may have copied 
from the Portuguese, except in that branch of prose dramas 
or dramatic romances of which the '' Celestina," so highly 
esteemed even by Cervantes, affords the finest example ; and 
although the Italian measure employed by Boscan and Gar- 
cilasso undoubtedly had a permanent influence on the Spanish 
style, appearing, indeed, to constitute an essential element of 
the best works of Cervantes and Calderon, still its opera- 
tion must be considered subordinate in comparison with that 
of the old romances, the introduction of which soon gave a 
distinctive tone and character to Spanish poetry. 

The assonance*, which a nation so musical and of such 
delicate taste naturally adopted from the Arabic, added to 
the fact that Spanish romances, and especially those written 
during the later period of the Moorish dominion in Granada, 
evince a decided partiality for the Abencerrages (Bencerajo), 
leads to the conclusion that these romances first originated 
about the period of the secession of that great Arabic family, 
who, abandoning their own nation and monarch, became 
faithful adherents of the Spanish cause. The spirit of ro- 
mantic chivalry, and the introduction of the assonance, 
undoubtedly give to Spanish poetry its oriental colouring ; 
for as few traces of it are to be found in the earlier Castilian 
as in any other modem language. 

Apart from the influence of historical casualties, romances 
and ballads, songs for music and descriptive poems form the 
chief elements of Spanish poetry, and from them its es- 
sential features are entirely derived. Romances and ballads 
are the principal elements ; in themselves the most simple, 
natural style of poetry existing, yet wrought by the Spaniards 
into such feeling, expression, and tenderness, as could never 
have been successfully imparted to them except by thewmost 
^'spiritual" and imaginative language in the world. In 
German poetry the genius of romance undoubtedly claims 
the ascendency ; for it seems more easy to engraft on that 

* In that species of Tenification which the Spaniards have called 
assonant, and which they have apparently borrowed from the Arabians, 
the same rhyme, or rather the same terminating vowel, is repeated in 
every other line for several pages, whilst the first lines of each couplet 
are not rhymed. -~Sitmondif vol. L p. 61. 

a 3 


lADguage the glowing brightness of eastern imagery than to 
copy that incomparably delicate and musical playfulness 
which distinguishes Castilian poetry. 

The opinion here asserted is not^ however^ new to German 
admirers of Spanish literature ; and I refer to it merely as a 
sort of introduction to, or rather in vindication of, a few lite- 
rary remarks cm the '' Romancero generaL" An inquiry into 
the history of chivalric romance will, from erery consideration, 
be interesting to all lovers of Spanish poetry; and a cri- 
tical analysis of the materials existing, by means of which 
the investigation may be pursued, can scarcely be of less 

These materials are, unhappily, most insufficient : the 
collections of *' Old Romances" are none of them judiciously 
arranged ; and in regard to the quarto before mentioned, and 
which is considered the most complete work of the kind, I 
must particularly observe, that this praise seems to have been 
awarded in respect of its size alone ; for although sufficiently 
voluminous, it is almost filled with very inferior romances, 
belonging to a later period. Besides, the '^ Guerras civiles 
de Granada," the little *< Bomancero,"* in 12mo. 156o, is 
far more useful, and contains a better selection of the older 
romances. Indeed, it corresponds so ratirely with the allu- 
sions made by Cervantes to their general style, that we could 
almost imagine that he referred to this very collection. 

In one respect, however, the ^' Romancero" struck me as 
remarkable. It is here and there interspersed with idyllic 
romances, which remind us of the far-famed woHls of Cer- 
vantes, not only from the name Gralatea, and others after- 
wards repeated in his romances, but still more from their 
sentimental tone, and antithetical form and expression. In 
the incidents of these tales, however, there is nothing more 
than j^ casual similarity. May not l^ese be a few of those 
innumerable romances [romanges infinites] which Cervantes, 
in the " Journey to Parnassus," alludes to among his early 
experiments ? And may not even the " Galatea " be merely 
a second re-modelling of a tale already once told ? 

* This vork ibrms the baus of a new edition of Spanish romances hj 
Jacob Grimm, under the title of *< SiWa de RomaDcea Vi^os,** published 
by Mager and Company, at Vienna, in 1815. The pubUeation is now 
in the hands of- Ignaz Klang, at Vienna. 

pabtil] fxbbira. 231 

The great rarity of Portuguese books presents an almost 
insuperable obstacle to the study of their poetry ; yet it 
seems entitled to the most partial consideration, from the 
beauty and perfect construction of the language, which is 
based upon the ruins of the later Latin, and by Tarious trans- 
formations and modifications, intrinsically connected with 
the Provencal or Romance dialect. Yet many libraries in 
which the collection of Spanish books is rich, and almost 
complete, are nearly destitute of Portuguese books, perhaps 
possessing only a single copy of Camoens. My acquaintance 
with Portuguese literature is consequently very limited. 

Besides a few insignificant poets of the last century, gene* 
rally tainted with the false French taste, and some historical 
works or chronicles, in which the Portuguese literature is 
very rich, I met with but one poet of the eariier time* — 
Fereira, esteemed on account of his correctness of diction, 
and as the contemporary of Camoens. Judging from his 
numerous letters to illustrious men, and their purport, we 
should be tempted to suspect that mediocrity had here been 
preferred to genius ; even as in the sister country, the osten- 
tatious Lope outshone the deep-souled C^errantes ; and in 
England many individuals held the stiff good sense of Ben 
Jonson in higher estimation than the overfiowing nature and 
imaginatiTe wealth of Shakspeare. 

Fereira admired and imitated Horace : his tragedy, ^ Inez 
de Castro," is cold, and unworthy the mehincholy grandeur 
of the theme. He is not altogether deficient in poetical ideas, 
such as may occasionally illumine the best Italian and Spanish 
poets of the Cinquecento style ; who, although taking refuge 
in a kind of classical constructicm, and in imitations of an- 
cient, and especially Latin verse, have yet more glimpses of 
poetry than ^ose who trod the same false path in later and 
less &voured times. Still, beauty of diction or romantic 
feeling would here be sought for in vain* The structure 
and phraseology of the Portuguese language so closdy resem- 
bles the Spanish, that frequently the particles and termina- 
tions can alone enable us to determine to which nation any 
particular root belongs, — the significatioa of the substan- 
tives being probably tiie same in both. In fact, most Por- 
tuguese woids are common also to the I^Minii^ and very few 

* Skmondi, ii. 466, 
a 4 


among them have anj essential difference of meaning. 
Words derived from the Arabic are abnost invariablj the 
same in both languages. 

The construction, however, of the Spanish and Portuguese 
presents fundamental differences so striking, as to place the two 
languages almost in direct opposition to each other. The nasal 
tone of the Portuguese is niore in afi&nitj with the southern 
French, from which, nevertheless, it widely differs ; the Por- 
tuguese being, without exception, the softest and sweetest of 
all Romance dialects. The soft sch, with its various modifica- 
tions, is continuallj heard, and the vowels o and e invariably 
become u and i, in pronunciation. This feature is so dis- 
tinct and universal, that sch, u, and i, form, as it were, the 
fundamental chord of that language, like the hard ch, a, and 
o, which, in the Spanish, are most powerfully emphatic. 

The soft accent of the Portuguese language might be com- 
pared with that of the Ionian dialect of the Hellenistic Greeks ; 
the haughty Spanish with the Doric; and the artistically 
framed Italian with the Attic. The reservations dependent 
on different local circumstances, by which this comparison, 
though just in itself, must be restricted within proper limits, 
will easily suggest themselves. Still similar causes rarely fail 
to produce similar effects. Whenever any dialect, founded on 
human organisation, has been permitted to develope itself 
without restraint, we clearly trace in it the operation of cli- 
mate and situation. In every mountain dialect we remark a 
predilection for the strongly aspirated ch ; on the sea-coast 
the softened scH, and the nasal tone are heard ; while, on 
the contrary, a broad tone and sharp accent indicate a level 
country and agricultural population. 

In regard to its poetical spirit and application, Spanish 
poets have characterised the Portuguese language as pre- 
eminently that of love and soft emotion. In its power of 
expressing tender feeling, from the faintest breathing of love 
to the most impassioned burst of longing anguish and de- 
spair, it surpasses every other language. It is also singularly 
rich in appropriate words, the very tone of which, indepen- 
dently of their beautiful signification and delicate allusion 
seems to melt at once into the soul. Even the soft Italian ap- 
pears rough in comparison with the Portuguese, and the 
Spanish stem and northern. It is, indeed, the flower of aH 
Proven9al and Bomantic dialects, by far the most simple, yet 


inferior to none in highly artistic construction. It has none 
of that play upon words, in which the Spaniards so frequently 
indulge, neither does it observe the distinction between de- 
scriptive and lyric poetry, to which they so studiously adhere. 
The Portuguese have adopted a few of the most beautiful 
and simple of the Spanish ballads ; but their language and 
tone lead exclusively to a soft and childlike sweetness, far 
removed from the studied antithesis, allusions, and allitera- 
tions of the Spanish. Consequently, they have always se- 
lected the shorter, ballad-form, in lines of six syllables ; 
many specimens of which, found in Camoens, are inexpres- 
sibly graceful and natural. 

We do not discover among the Portuguese any tendency 
to the classical learning of modem Italy: their prose is 
simple, rich, and laconic, yet without the slightest constraint; 
indeed, in every style, ease and grace appear to be with that 
nation natural qualities. 

In consequence of the deficiency of books and data, before 
alluded to, it is difficult to trace the origin of Portuguese 
poetry back to any fixed period. It is, however, certain that 
fundamental difierences exist between that language and 
poetry, and the Spanish. The Romance language had little 
infiuence on the construction of the latter; and Spanish 
ballads are framed on very different principles. Some idyllic 
poets, contemporary with Camoens, appear to have imitated 
the earlier Italian and Spanish writers. Dramatic romances, 
in the style of Selvaggi% Eofrosena, and Celestina, are too 
irregular to be employed as guides in investigating the his- 
tory of Spanish poetiy. The national chronicles, on the 
contrary, of which the Portuguese possess a complete series, 
extending even to the earliest period of their national exist- 
ence, belong quite as much to the sphere of poetry as to 
that of history. Poetic feeling, and a desire of fame, seem 
to have been bound up with every impulse of their national 
life ; and in the works of the grand heroic poets of Portugal 
their close and intimate union is especially remarkable. 
Dramatic mysteries or autos were always favourite themes 
with the Portuguese, almost countenancing the supposition 
that the Spanish mysteries, so highly intellectual in treat- 
ment, and differing so widely from the analogous productions 
of the early English and German, were rather borrowed 
from the Portuguese than remodelled from the original 


plan of the English. This opinion is confirmed by the con- 
current testimony of history, which seems to prove that the 
Catholic adaptation of these mysteries^ in lai earlier and 
better period, would have given them, as poetical and intel- 
lectual amusements, a far more glowing character of festal 

I shall not attempt to decide this point Camoens appears 
to have carried the poetic art in the Portuguese language to 
the highest perfection. His poems have all the beautiful 
features already alluded to as distinctive characteristics of 
Portuguese diction, — grace, deep feeling, the childlike ten- 
derness and sweet earnestness of emotion, with ihe saddest 
and most desolating melancholy, — amply expressed,, yet 
with such purity and pathos, that whether in the form of 
canzonets, idylls, or Hght fanciful songs, their beauty of 
diction could scarcely be more perfect or their glowing 
bloom more vivid. 

Camoens* chief work is the Lusiad ; an heroic poem : and 
if dauntless courage, and a warrior's soul, be essential to the 
perfect treatment of a composition of that character, the 
work of Camoens must indeed be well deserving of the 
name. The discoveiy of India, the grand event of modem 
times, could only be ihtts celebrated by <me who had himself 
passed a portion of his life, sixteen years in fact, in those 
r^ons. Everything is created frcmi the freshness and vigour 
of personal recollections and experience, presenting a ground- 
work of inexhaustible fertility. All the incidents are novel 
and animated, richly and daringly depicted, yet with a vivid 
perspicuity and decision seldom found except in Homeric 

A warrior onhr could thus have written,— one who felt the 
fame and life of his nation to be his own : it is, indeed, a 
text-book for youthful heroes, and is dedicated to the most 
beloved and unhappy of all sovereigns ; not with empty flat- 
tering words, but, like the parenttd counsels of a hero-sage 
full of enthusiastic inspirations, based upmi firm and soUd 
principles. The genius of the poet is no less noble and ma- 
jestic than his thme. , 

The very history of the woiic seems to elevate it into 
tragedy ; the brief period of sovereignty therein cdebrated 
being so closely connected with, in fact, succeeded by, the 
total destruction of his valiant nation. Intoxicated by the 

PABT n.] CAM0EK8. 235 

conquest of India, and the success of their own daring valoor, 
they deeeired themselves with the belief that the most pros- 
perous destinj, if not already theirs, lay at least within their 
grasp, and at the proudest moment of that brief but glorious 
period, one great national song broke forth, like the dying 
notes of the fabled swan, a diiqge for the departing hero-na- 
tion. A few years only had elapsed after the completion of 
the poem, when the Portuguese sovereignty declined, its 
strength became exhausted, and even its separate existence 
terminated ; a grief which the aged poet could not long sur- 
vive. Portugal has never since attained the same lofty emi- 
nence, and the remembrance of her departed glory is enshrined 
in this great work, created by the divine genius of her na- 
tional poet for the immortalisation of her fame. 

The grandeur of the design unquestionably entitles this 
poem to rank among the noblest works of genius that Italy, 
Spain, or even the more northern countries of Europe, can 
boast : the exqui^te bloom and grace of the diction are un- 
paralleled among modem writers. 

In this work, too^ an ot^ect is successfully attained, which 
many nations and distinguished poets have aspired to reach 
in vain. It is the only national epic poem that has been 
produced in modem timea, even if tiie last period of ancient 
literature be included. Yirgil*s attempt to weave firom Tro- 
jan fable a national poem for his own native Bome, is inde^ 
praiseworthy ; yet the interest excited by this beautiful effort 
is not so much unqualified admiration as sympathy for a 
failure, which the many difficulties that presented them- 
selves rendered almost unavoidable. To this lofty design 
Virgil is indebted for a place among poets of genius which 
the merit of his work alone could not have procured him. 
Tasso, though his fine and delicate feeling ever wins our 
love, was not equal to the grand theme he had chosen : he is 
&r too sulgective in character, too much occupied with him- 
self, to cope with a grand event like that of the Crusades ; 
seizing it in its whole historical and universal extent, and 
losing himself and all personal consciousness therein. The 
episcHdes introduced in the '* Giemsakmme," and which pre- 
sent tons his own beautiftd love-thoughts, are the only parts 
of real enduring value ; the rest is more or less unsatisfac- 
tory, often tamcy and evidently not springing from an original 


impulse. If the heroic, and mythical styles of poetry were 
not always considered as entirely distinct in character, bat 
rather, as would perhaps be best, as members of one common 
root, requiring to be treated in a congenial manner, the 
poem of Camoens might be cited, as, next to Homer, the 
only work really deserring the title of an Epic Poem. 

It is needless to remind any one who considers the immea- 
surable gulf between these two poets, from difference of time 
and other circumstances, that the comparison can hold good 
only in generalities ; yet the work of Camoens completely 
carries out an idea the development of which has been long 
and fruitlessly attempted, and often indeed erroneously con- 
eeived, and placed in a completely false light. 

The same simple beauty, which throughout marks the 
design of the composition, may be traced likewise in the dic- 
tion and descriptive passages. The intermixture of mytho- 
logical and Christian themes, has been censured, perhaps 
unjustly; for why should an utter forgetfulness of these 
fables, an absolute silence concerning them, be insisted on 
as necessary throughout any Christian poem ? In what 
period of Christianity have they ever been consigned to 
utter oblivion ; and when, it may be asked, is such oblivion 
likely to enshroud them? Camoens employed the Greek 
mythology as a beautiful hieroglyphic language, clothing his 
expressive allegories ; and thus it has been frequently adapted 
and employed by many other poets and painters of the roman- 
tic period, though absolute innovations are occasionally intro- 
duced. Yet Camoens is veiy sparing in his employment of 
mythology : if he suffer Athene to protect and favour his 
beloved Portuguese, because she sees in them some resem- 
blance to her own ancient Romans ; if Bacchus, foreseeing 
that their heroic deeds would eclipse his own, and put a 
period to his dominion in India, becomes their enemy ; if 
giants rise up to oppose them in the wildest seas of their 
voyage to the blessed and favoured land; and Thetis at 
length, guiding his heroes to the happy island, invites the 
noble Gama to ascend her nuptial bed, celebrating his glo- 
rious conquest of the sea, and the sovereignty he thus estab- 
lished ; it must be confessed that no other romantic poet ever 
imparted so much freshness and originality to these ancient 
fables, or rendered them equally agreeable and intelligible. 


In the oommencement indeed, our poet appears to tread 
too closelj in the steps of Virgil, but he soon leaves that guide^ 
and the bold navigator^ launching forth upon the boundless 
seas, swiftly loses sight of his native shores. His allegories, 
too, differ from those of Virgil as widely as his invention, 
which is throughout intellectual, rare and wondrous, yet 
most clearly inteUigible, particularly towards the conclusion 
of the Ludad. ThiB, however, is still more the case in the 
unfinished poem on the Creation of Man, published in the 
general collection of his works, but which has sometimes been 
denied to be his. 


The national libraiy at Paris contains but scanty mate- 
rials for the study of noven^al literature, and with the ex- 
ception of one Itddan Provencal lexicon, '^ La Crusca Proven- 
zale," there is not even a dictionary. A grammar is mentioned 
in the catalogue, but it has not for many years been seen. Still 
the Proven9al is so nearly allied to the French, Italian, and 
even to the Spanish^ that a little toil and study will generally 
citable any one acquainted with those languages to compre- 
hend the Provengal also ; and when this proves insufficient, 
recourse must be had, as most available, to the present Pro- 
vencal and Languedocian dialects, of both of which vocabu- 
laries have been compiled. 

A few Provencal compositions are inserted in Crescembini ; 
some passages from the above-mentioned Crusca, some ex- 
tracts from Tassoni's writings against Petrarch, and a few 
French works on the peculiar history of the provinces. But 
all are unsatisfactory fragments and short extracts. 

The library is rich in Provencal MSS., and probably few are 
now (1804) to be found elsewhere. Whether many still re- 
main in Italy, since the pillage of the French, who removed 
the most famous collections, particularly that of Petrarch, 
which undoubtedly contained many of great value, is doubt- 
ful. I have been assured by a friend *, who^ besides being a 

* It was th« same M. Raynouard, who, after the time to which I 
refer» published the Tragedy of the TempUrs, and also a grand work on 
the Romance Language and ProTcn^al Poett. 


Proyen9iil by birth, has long devoted his time and attention 
to the subject, and to whom I am indebted for much valuable 
information, tiiat in the South of France none are at present 
to be found. 

It will be well, in this stage of the inquiry, to give a com- 
plete synopsis of the MSS. l^re deposited, which may convey 
a correct idea of the remains of Firoven9al literature at pre- 
sent existing, and form a suitable pre&ce to my observations 
on the study of that language and its poetry. 

The Bibliothi^ue de TAraenal is very rich in this depart- 
ment of literature, as it contains the legacy of Monsieur de 
la Cume de St. Pelaye, which, however, appears to extend 
chiefly to the remains of Northern French poetry. 

My present observations will be confined to the grand 
Biblioth^ue dn BoL I must first remind my readers that 
as the catidogue of modem literature is in manuscript, written 
of course at various times, and In different handwritings, many 
works have probably escaped my notice ; besides, it wiU 
scarcely be supposed possible that a catalogue of this descrip- 
tion can be free from errors in the figures ; and, accordingly, 
examining it carefully, though without success, in the hope 
of finding some other collection of old German poetry, be- 
sides the Manessischen collection, I met with the title ^'Byth- 
mi Grermanici Antiqui;" but on turning eagerly to the 
number referred to, I found only a Croatian PostiL 

The result of my examination of the BibUoth^ue Boyale 
is subjoined. 

I found there not a single romantic epic poem in the Pro- 
ven9al language, but an immense number in the old Northern 

Besides the " Cangioneros," or collections of lyric poems, 
there are also a few sacred pieces, and some rdigious and 
moral works in prose. A Provencal Psalm Book, a Vision 
of Virtue and Vice, a Narrative Poem, in rhyme, on the 
Passion of Christ, and a Breviary of Love, all Provencal ; 
one Catalonian MS., written in a clear powerful hand, 
containing Lives of the Saints, down to Pepin and Bertha, 
the Life of St. Honorius, in prose. 

Some of these MSS. are so badly written, that unless 
perfectly conversant with the Bomance language, it is 
scarcely possible to decipher them. There are some coUec- 


tioDB of aooffl caiefullj transcribed, and in some parts beaa- 
tifully illnminated. Of these there are three copies, all 
i^ven^aly and the study of them is greatly facilitated by 
this circumstance. One is much more copious than the 
others, yet in many instances the same poems are repeated 
in each of the three, and by collating the different manu- 
scripts, the ccMrrect reading may generally be ascertained. 
The poems are classed according to their style, — chansons, 
canzonets, or serventes; but the poets* names in these various 
branches, each of which has its own appropriate metre, are 
arranged chronologically. The largest collection contains 
selections from one hundred different poets^ and another from 
dxty-eight only. 

A Catalonian " Can9ionero ** is also in exiBtenoe here. 
From the title in the catalogue, ** Charles de Yianne,'' it might 
be taken for an epic poem ; but this misconoeption arises 
only from an occasional poem, which is inserted at the com- 
mencement. The ^ Can9ionero " is a rich collection of Cata- 
lonian songs, and, besides those of Ansias March, the only 
edition I could find of his, so often mentioned and deservedly 
esteemed by Boscan and other Spaniards, contains numerous 
compositions, the versification of which is almost invariably 
on the same plan. We find stanzas of lines of twelve 
syllables, divided by a feminine, and of eleven syUables with 
a mascuUne Ccesura, and which usually have a dactyl in each 
half of the verse, after the accented syllable, and the same 
rhyme carried on through strophes of eight or ten lines. A 
style of versification which the Spaniards termed '' versos 
de arte mayor,** or " coplas d'arte mayor.*** This style was 
much more common at an earlier period, and I have seen 
Portuguese verses, in this metre, dated 150 years before 
Juan de Mena. Still, as this measure exclusively appears 
to have been employed by the Catalonian poets, it is at least 
probable that both CastUians and Portuguese borrowed it 
from the Catalans, rather than the reverse. 

The language of this '^ Can^ionero," and that of the Pro- 

• ^ CopUs dVurte Mayor." Sisxnondi, vol. il p. 121, 122., Bohn's 
Stand. Lib. ** The lines are Aleiandrines, sometimes consisting of four 
dactyls, sometimes of four amphibrachs. The verses consist of couplets 
of four lines each, and the lines of each couplet conclude with the same 
rhyme." — 2Wou. 


ven9al Manuscript is strikingly different, yet closely resem- 
ling that termed Yalencian in the Spanish ^' Can^ionero.'' 
The versification of a few specimens in that dialect, pre- 
served here, is also similar. 

It appears, then, that the oldest Romantic languages had 
two dialects at least for poetry, the Proven9al and Cata- 
lonian. The Catalonian poetry appears considerably earlier 
than the FrovengaL 

The preceding notice of Provencal MSS. is given with- 
out alteration, because, imperfect as it is, it yet contains 
a few observations which, in default of any great original 
work on that subject, may be worthy of attention. This is 
more especially the case as illustrating the position of Pro- 
vengal literature at that time, and the progress of our re- 
searches, which have since gained increased interest from 
the new light thrown upon philology and the general sphere 
of Romantic ideas by the works of A. von Schlegel, as well 
as of Raynouard, who was then occupied with that subject, 
and answered my inquiries concerning it with so much 
kindness and sympathy. The grand, copious work, published 
by the latter, forms the first complete edition of the poetry 
of the Troubadours, a most invaluable collection of the 
earliest treasures of the Romance language, its history, and 
old memorials. Sufficient information on the Provencal 
Manuscripts may be found in the work alluded to ; '^ Choix 
des Ponies Originales des Troubadours," vol. i. p. 440. seq., 
and vol. ii. p. 154 — 162. efr. p. 289. seq. 

Besides the lyric poems, which have at all times attracted 
the attention of reiol lovers of poetry, some remarkable 
specimens of epic poems have been brought to light among 
the other treasures of the Romance language discovered by 
his studious care. Still, although the allegorical and didactic 
passages in these poems and fragments are not (considered 
as poetry) particularly pleasing, the form is so much the 
more important in reference to the earliest period of our 
German poetry, from its appearing to be an echo or copy 
of the metrical ideal of the Grerman heroic epic poem. 
They are written in the old long heroic verse, which is 
sometimes contracted and abbreviated, and commonly met 


with in that form in the didactic songs of priests and sages : 
in the oldest fragments it consists of ten or twelve sjUables, 
with the masculine rhymes*; in the latter, of twelve or 
fourteen^ and sometimes even more syllables, with an 
accentuated csesura in the middle of the line. Such verses 
are constructed with three, four, or six lines, ending in 
the same rhyme, which is generally masculine. In the oldest 
of these poetic fragments, the ** Captivity of Boethius," the 
same rhyme is reiterated through twelve lines or more, and 
one unrhymed line is also introduced, after the manner of 
the Spanish assonance, and we may here trace the first use 
of it in the Romance language* 

The versification in general strongly resembles that of the 
earliest Spanish ballads, the old epic poem of the ^' Cid," for 
instance, and another by Sanchez, which may be found in 
the " Foesias Castellanos," a collection of the earliest relics 
of Spanish poetry and poetic diction. The affinity of the 
above«mentioned Yalencian, the old Portuguese, and early 
Castilian poems is undoubtedly proved by their universal 
employment of the strophe termed ''Coplais d'arte mayor," f 
a regular Iambic metre like that of the correct and polished 
Alexandrines of a later period, an advance towards which 
may be traced even in the structure of the '^ Niebelungen 
lied," must not be looked for generally in Romantic poetry, 
and is in fact but rarely met with. If the portion given in 
this collection, may afford a criterion for judging of the re- 
mainder it would appear that in old Castilian poetry, as well 
as in the Spanish Romances emanating at a later period from 
the same source, the Trochaic was universally preferred. 

Every fragment of Romantic poetry here preserved, re- 
futes the theory maintained by those superficial philologists 
who have feebly attempted to prove, that the free, irregular, 
generous, heroic Alexandrine, as it exists in our "Niebelun- 
gen Lied," is formed on the ruins of the hexameter. The 
abbreviated metre met with in the very earliest specimens of 
their poetry at once destroys such a theory. The structure 
of the strophe more especidly, and the continued reiteration 
of the same masculine rhyme, give a totally distinct cha- 

• Those accented on the last syllable. .- Sismondi, toI. L p. 101. 
t Vide note, mUe, p. SS9. 


metre ; in the " Niebelungen Lied," for in- 
>phe is not (wljrhjmed accordii^ to a certain 
an uniform progress ii obseryed, the same 
itljr recorring, and gmng a sameness of tone 
he entire aong. 

ble to trace this romantic metre and riiyme to 
although in some Arabic* poems, the same 
ied on at certain intervals throughout; but 
; or in the slightest degree Oriental ev^i, can 
in any fragments of old Romantic poetry, 
of the language, the cokmring and diction, are 
3rent The Bomance language is formed bj 
ire of Latin and Teutonic : words of the 
ge being incorponted with the German, 
d according to its peculiar pronunciation 
^. A. W. von Schl^el and Bajnonard cita 
ble instances of the influence exercised by 
and the Gothic dislect especially, on the new 
. The epic Terse of the Romance language 
ooontries onoe ruled by the Goths, and among 
people founded by that naticm, and, althougll 
' ways, with but trifling differences in really 
;. AU old Gennan poems, and epic ballads 
the versification is preserved, belong to tha 
: heroic traditions, and conseqnently the snp- 
le Bomance versificatioa is an imitatiMt of the 
itrt^he, seems both natoral and well fonnded. 
the general construction of the Gothic lan- 
ioped by Ulphilasf, and thence conjecture the 
, and probably did assume, in rhythm and 
at once convinced that the short Saxon verse 
longs of the Northern Edda are written, and 
gmatic alliteration introduced into the Ronio 
d have no affinity with the mi^estic language 
lor with the fnll-toned, copioos, many-sylla- 
>rehenEiTe Teutonic dialect. As the original 

hittorjp lelU us that undtt the reign of the Emperor 
bishop of those Goths who were settled in Mcesia and 
ihe Bible into the Gothic lingiuge : he added menl 
e Hunic alphabeL (JUoOcl'i Nertlurn Jntigidtia,).^- 

pabtbl] oh xhb fobtbt of the hobth, 248 

stem of the Grerman lanffaage became divided into two great 
branches or limbs, the Grothic and the Saxon, in all proba- 
bility there were originally among people of the German rac^ 
two distinct kinds of heroic or magic-teaching songs : the 
grand Gothic versification on the one hand, (traces of which 
are found in the ^Niebelungenlied," and the earliest Roman- 
tic fira^pnents,) and on the other hand, the short Saxon, the 
prevailing early German, or at least, Fnmkish form, of which 
we possess in the peculiar Teutonic monument '^ Ottfried,** 
and which, though far from equalling the heroic grandeur 
and epic beau^ of the other Gothic style, yet fills and de- 
lights the ear with its magical harmony. 




The light, graceful productions of poetry may not inaptly 
be compared with those varied blossoms which each returning 
spring brings in her train, or even to the butterfly, and other 
brilliant tribes of ephemera which float joyously around the 
flowers, and terminate their sparkling existence in the last 
rays of the declining summer sun. 

Fragile productions of a happy moment, children of spring- 
time and of love, a too severe criticism would be here inis- 
plaoed, nor should they be harshly judged by the acute and 
discriminating critic, whose standard of excellence is probably 
placed too h^h to be applicable to their transient existence. 
What avails it to repine that ^ring-time and summer are 
exposed to many variations of temperature, or to complain 
with impatient bitterness of the annoying insects which 
firequently disturb our enjoyment of a brilliant summer's day? 
Even in our spring the note of the nightingale is heard, 
and the joyous song of the lark rings out unchecked! Content 
that the voice of melody is not for ever silent in these later 
times, let us accept the offerings of our German spring as they 

R 2 


unfold before us, without incessantly pining for a happier 
cUmate and a southern sky. The lovely blossoms of the 
May open unbidden in our woods, and why, in the midst of a 
rich and highly-cultivated garden, should we mar our own 
enjoyment by constantly repeating that Persia, not Germany, 
is the home of the roses, and that fruits and flowers nurtured 
under an Ionian heaven, or in Italian fields, are not alike the 
offspring of our less genial clime and soil? 

Youth is the spring-time of life, and the simple pleasures 
of nature, then held so dear, are by some hearts ever faith- 
fully cherished. Tet amid the different tastes and genius of 
mankind, the bustle of cities, and ever-varying aspect of 
social Hfe, is by some men even more dearly prized. It is 
true that this restless activity affords more scope for intel- 
lectual exertion, and the varied arts of civilisation and re- 
finement, than the artless unconscious play of impulse and 
feeling. Every thought is engaged in the animated contest, 
every heart throbs with a desire to win and to enjoy, while 
all press ardentiv forward, eager to surpass or to outshine 
their fellows. The second branch of poetry now existing, 
which in subservience to the spirit of die day, seeks to win 
the applause of society, may not inaptly be compared with the 
crowd and bustle of our annual fair. Whether it assemble 
'the multitudes personally before its stage, or be designed 
^merely to soothe the languid hours of solitary enjoyment, we 
everywhere find a continual interchange of life and action; 
every one is seeking to purchase or to selL Childhood seizes 
the first sweet dainty that attracts the eye, youth pants for 
^brilliant attire and the glitter of superficial cultivation of 
mind ; impelled by curiosity, men throng the booths or the 
stage, while the sellers more especially, intent rather on 
gaining money or applause than tiie pursuit of pleasure, are 
anxious only to cheat the multitude, to discover the weak points 
of the virtuous, and to wrest them to their own advantage. 
Both buyer and seller are often mutually deceived, for the 
approbation of the many has no greater intrinsic value than 
that false glitter of intellect, that luscious emptiness of hearty 
for which it is given in exchange. 

Still this general intercourse of mind is pleasing in itself, 
and not without a remarkable influence on art. It is almost 
possible to calculate the success of any drama or romance, 
and the impression it is likely to produce upon the notions 


of the public mind. Artistic theories and 83rmptom6, divided 
. and contrasted according to different opinions and deeply- 
rooted prejudices, are constructed upon it, and even subjects 
the most purely intellectual give birth to obstinate disputes, 
maintain^ with all the virulence of party spirit Activity is 
no doubt an inherent property of the human temperament, 
and it would be an idle folly unconditionally to condemn it. 
We might, indeed, (to recur again to the image of the annual 
fair as applied to modem poetry), wish that a little more 
order and imanimity reigned among the candidates. But 
whether the influence of criticism alone be sufficient for the 
attainment of this object, or whether we need not some higher 
moral power to step forth in the midst and call us back to 
order and unitv, can scarcely be a subject for deliberation. 
How frequently has it happened, when some vigorous and 
determined critic has succeeded in stemming the tide of 
fashionable influence, he yet fails to disperse popular errors, 
or dissipate even glaring delusions, while others, believing 
that he also may be deceived, willingly resign themselves to 
error, glad to escape the troublesome severity of truth, or 
the annoyance of rooting up any long-cherished prejudices. 

I turn then the more readily from a field in wUch there 
exists at present but little hope of any happy or triumphant 
result, to seek a less popular and less frequented path. Be- 
sides the poetry of youth and impulse, and that second 
branch which, formed by fashion, is forced into unnatural 
existence in the highest sphere of social life, there exists still 
another branch, far older than either. Poetry, indeed, in its 
earliest, original form, is not strictly confined within the 
actual limits of that art, but, as a record of the noble words 
and actions of ancient heroes, appears rather to belong to 
history, the primitive history, of nature and mankind. Con- 
trasted with that poetry which flows from the false channels 
of conventional art and social habits, the last mentioned may 
be likened to the clear, pure water gushing from a mountain 
spring, but compar^ with the exterior charm, the richness, 
and gHttering flower-like hues of that poetry which springs 
from the impulses of youthful life and love, it seems rather 
to resemble the rude majesty of a primitive rock, whose as- 
pect fills the lonely wanderer with astonishment, placing him, 

as it were, amid &e giant features of the olden time. 

& 3 


In this bnmch of poetry criticism, which indeed should 
never be separated from history, is quite in its place, and may 
prove of decided utility. Not by reducing the grand works 
of nature to an arbitrary standard, often far too perishable 
and lightly chosen, but by making them intelligible to the 
public in general, analysing and explaining the difficulties 
they present, and showing &e light in which thqr ought to 
be regarded. Such an investigation of these old memorials 
may be compared with the labours of a miner who explores 
the profoundest recesses of nature, and firom her depths brings 
countless treasures forth to minister to the enjoyment of 
mankind. There^ wrapt in silence and darkness, slumber 
the buried powers of those metallic treasures, which when 
once brought to the surface, have strength to move the 
world, — - gold and iron, the main springs of active life, which 
either cloUie our meadows in all the blessings of fertility, or 
dye both fields and streams with blood. Deep in the bo6(»n 
of the earth lie hidden the health-restoring elixir, and the 
sudden and deadly poison. There too are substances of little 
apparent value, which touched by the skilful hand of art, 
flash out in the most brilliant colours, and a thousand other 
mysterious treasures, all overwhelmed and entombed beneath 
the ruins of a sunken giant world. 

It is in a similar frame of mind that we should approach 
and contemplate the vestiges of heroic tradition ; and I might, 
perhaps advantageously, attempt here to impart to my 
readers certain of my meditations on this subject, at least in 
as far as relates to ike poetry of our fatherland, but I shaU 
confine myself rather to the task of rescuing from oblivion the' 
solid, pure metal, of our earlier poetry, and bringing it once 
more into life and notice. There are enough sdready who 
make it their occupation to bring our early poetry into circu- 
lation in selections, or small portions, remodelled according 
to certain accepted ideas, or on a merely arbitrary plan. 
Since the time of Leibnitz and Echard, the knowledge of the 
Grerman language has been very widdy diffused, as well as 
the taste for old German poetry, due to the exertions of 
Klopstock and Bodmer, who are continually affording us 
specimens of those early compositions. During the last ten 
or twelve years especially, a strongs national feeling has 
stirred within us, and the love thus kindled for the eaily 
poets of our fatherland has become warmer and more 


aniversaL Still much indeed is wanting ere we can attain a 
perfect knowledge of Grerman literature, which its great 
extent alone» independent of the insufficiency of materials, 
would render a task of no little difficulty. Its extent will 
be but little lessened, even if the earliest Saxon memorials 
be excluded, and only those poems admitted which were 
written in the upper Grerman dialect subsequently to Ottfned: 
the boundary Hue between ancient and modem Grerman 
literature being fixed in the middle of the seventeenth cen- 
tury, after the peace of Westphalia, comprising a period of 
nearly 800 years (from 870 to 1650). During that long 
period, Grerman poetry underwent many changes, and even 
positive transformations ; it survived more than one ebb and 
flow of prosperity, and indeed many realms in the wide 
domain of its earlier operation are now unknown and for- 
gotten. Even in poetry, to which the genius of our nation 
and the taste of our investigators has ever been peculiarly 
directed, much remains to be sought out in a still more re* 
mote antiquity, and drawn from a far deeper source, before 
the spirit of 6erman poetry, as it once reigned among our 
ancestors, can be awakened and rekindled amongst ourselves. 

In the Edda, as well as in the mythological traditions of 
the North, we discover an intense reverence and awe of 
nature, penetrating every feature of the Glerman character 
and manner of life, giving birth not only to high impulses of 
freedom, and lofty ideas of honour and nobili^, but to the 
refining influence and gentler tenderness of love. Great as 
were the changes produced by the introduction of Christianity 
and its ameliorating influences, the same predominant feeling 
remained unaltered, and may be traced in every memorial of 
those early times : the same fundamental chord is heard in 
all the poems and romances of the middle ages, it resounded 
through the entire period of chivalry and knight-errantry, 
and still, as the great artery of northern life, it throbs in 
the heart of every peo{de of German extraction. 

The mythology of Odin was common to the Southern 
Germans and Saxons, as well as to all other Scandinavian 
people. Both thoee nations, though long divided and sepa- 
rated, bear the stamp of original affinity. It cannot, there- 
fore, be inconsistent with natural appearances or the records 
pf history, to trace the stream of German poetry badL to its 

E 4 


northern source, the Edda. In regard to the Celts, indeed, 
the circumstances are very different, and their traditions and 
memorials are all alike strange to us, and foreign to our feel- 
ings. But if the learned investigator of history find ample 
reason for distinguishing the Celtic apd Gaelic tribes, as 
completely different in manners and habits from the Grerman 
nation, still it cannot be denied that all the free people of 
northern Europe had many qualities and feelings in com- 
mon, and that their character and ideas harmonised in many 
particular points, even before the introduction of Christianity 
cemented a still closer union between them. 

The welcome reception which the poems of Ossian found 
in most of the northern countries of Europe, and the peculiar 
favour with which they have long been received in Germany, 
is a powerful testimony in corroboration of this assertion. 
How often have the bright glowing descriptions of Homer, 
and other ancient poets, been compared with the sentimental 
melancholy of the Scottish poet ; a type as it were of the 
peculiar genius and feeling, inherited by modern Europeans 
from their earlier progenitors. 

Incorrect as this comparison appears in many particulars, 
and little as we participate in the unqualified enthusiasm 
expressed by some admirers of Ossian, still the influence 
exercised by these poems on the public taste is certainly very 
remarkable. The spurious work produced by Macpherson, 
under the title of the poems of Ossian, has so long engaged 
the attention of the literary world, and its poetical value and 
authenticity have been so much contested, that it can scarcely 
be superfluous to offer a few observations on the genuine 
edition of Ossian, which has recently been promised to us ; 
and it will be the first object of these remarks to find some 
historical basis or foundation, on which the entire fabric may 
rest. Legends and traditions belong but partially to the 
spirit of poetry, and in an equal measure at least to the field 
of history. Neither of these elements should be considered se- 
parately, and in order fully to enjoy its old heroic poems it is 
even necessary to trace the incidents related in them to their 
proper period of time, and thus transport ourselves into the 
world to which they belong, and approach the source from 
whence they sprung. 

After the failure of the last despairing effort, made by fli 


descendant of the Stuarts in the year 1746, to reconquer the 
throne of England^ once the heritage of his ancestors ; the 
government of that country considered it expedient, as a 
means of checking such attempts in future, to abolish many 
old Scottish customs, and thus bind that people, who till then 
had been a distinct race in costume, manners, and ideas, in still 
closer union with England, and incorporate their country, now 
in a certain measure a re-conquered province, with the prin. 
cipal part of the Island in wluch was vested the sovereignty 
of the entire kingdom. Yet there exists, even now, a most re- 
markable distinction between the manners and ideas of both 
people, extending in a peculiar degree to works of fancy and 
imagination. The patriotism of the Scotch being, after that 
catastrophe, forcibly repressed^ concentrated itself, as is fre* 
quently the case, in a more fervent love and veneration of 
old national traditions, and the memorials of their ancient 
fame. This disposition prompted the sedulous preservation 
of the songs of the Gaelic bards, and possibly also contributed 
to the enthusiastic love and veneration with which they were 
received in their mother country. All Europe, too, soon im- 
bibed the spirit of enthusiasm, and joyfully hailed the new 
apparition of the North which harmonised so wonderfully 
with the general feeling and poetical aspirations of the time. 
But when the first tumult of astonishment had subsided, 
and the cooler influences of reason and judgment resumed 
their sway, doubts arose, in England more especially, as to 
the authenticity of these poems. The most cursory investi- 
gation of the old Scottish ballads in the primitive Gaelic 
tongue, made it evident that Macpherson had acted most un- 
fairly in his version of those early poems, treating them in 
an arbitrary and even negligent manner. At length a com- 
plete edition in three volumes, of the poems of Ossian, in the 
original language, appeared in London, in the year 1807 ; and 
besides the translations and free imitations of the belaboured 
and often falsified Ossian of Macpherson, with which many 
distinguished literati and excellent Grerman poets — Herder, 
Denis, Groethe, and Stolberg, have since supplied us — we 
now also possess an edition of these poems conscientiously 
transcribed from the Gaeliq original (The Poems of Ossian 
from the Gaelic, in the original metre, by Ch. W. Ahlwarts» 
Leipsic; pub. by Goschen, 1811, 8 vols. 8vo.) By means 


of this work, we are now for the first time qualified to decide 
on the authenticity and true merit of the entire composition. 

Many doubts have, it is true, been raised in England as to 
the auUientidtj of our Gaelic Ossian. Still there maj be 
some tinge of prejudice in the unqualified depreciation and 
contempt with which the English have r^arded the existing 
contest concerning Ossian, and their want of sympathy in 
the favourite themes of Scottish national poetry, may not be 
without some influence on their judgment. I must agree 
with the German translator on one important point at least : 
if it can be proyed, by historical testimony, that many of 
Ossian's songs were originally sung by the Highland buds, 
and have been preserved during a long period among the 
Highland clans, such strong internal evidence fully contro- 
verts the supposition that Maq^herson and his Scottish 
accomplices fabricated and invented the whole ; an qpinion 
which the scepticism and party spirit of many learned 
Englishmen have maintained wiUi almost unreasonable per- 

It must be acknowledged that our possession of the Gaelic 
Ossian makes it now, for the first time, possible to arrive at 
some conclusion as to the period when the Ossianic poems 
were first produced and to which some among them being 
admitted to be ancient and genuine, must unquestionably be 
attributed. All conjectures based upon the translation of 
llacpherson must be discarded as without foundation, since 
Macpherson, anxious from mistaken patriotism to give greater 
antiquity to these poems, and carry them back even to the 
period of the Romans, has allowed himself in many instances 
to falsify the text. A remarkable proof of this is adduced 
by our German translator.* An opponent of Fionnghal, 
probably a chief or petty prince of the Hebrides or the 
Carun, mentioned in the poem Carthoun, is called the 
** SchlLdburg Fiirst'' The translator mentions an equally 
mighty chief, styled by Ossian *' King of the Shield ;** but 
Macpherson transforms the epithet into that of ^^ King of the 
World," and thence assigns it to the universal sovereign or 
CsBsar of Rome. If the reader be prepared to believe that 
these titles and personages exist in 0>8sian*s poems, it becomes 
easy to change Caracul, a prince of Carun, into the Roman 

• Ahlwart, Part iiL p. 9. 47. 


GaracaUa, and to frame in connexion with this many similar 
misinterpretations and misapplications. Our translator re-* 
jects these hypotheses as completely untenable, and all which 
carry back the period of Ossian to the time of the Bomans. 
Whether they are intentional perversions of the text by 
Macpherson, or whether, blinded by partiality, and misled 
by an insufficient knowledge of the UaeHc language, he read 
the passages falsely and applied them erroneoosly in working 
out his fayonrite &eory, is immaterial, the historical results 
being the same in either case. 

This fundamental enor, however, by placing the Ossianic 
poems in the period of the Boman domination, fixes the 
point of action throiu^hout at a much too early date, and 
thus exhibits the whofe in a completely erroneous light. But 
having once dispersed that delusion, it is easy, by an impre- 
judiced study of the poems themselves, to fix the sphere and 
period to which they actually belong. 
- The most important action recorded in the Ossianic poems, 
indeed the only one bearing a decidedly historical stamp, is 
that of Fingal ; one of the greatest exploits performed by 
the old Scottidi warriors, in defending Erin, or Ireland, 
against the incursions of the mighty Swaran, king of 
Lochlin. This subject lies, indeed, quite within the sphere of 
historical probability. Lochlin is described as a mighty 
kingdom, whith may account for the circumstance of a suc- 
cessful resistance to its power being celebrated as a lofty and 
heroic deed To decide from historical evidence, on the 
situation and extent of this kingdom of Lochlin is conse- 
quently a point of considerable importance. Lochlin, say 
the commentators^ must be either Jutland or Norway ; our 
translator leaves the locality undecided. Many voyages 
between Ireland and Scotland are of course described, tc^e- 
ther with the adventures of the sea-^ings and heroes of Jut- 
land and Denmark upon those coasts, and the islands inter- 

All the local indications in the poem seem, however, to 
correspond with Norway rather than Jutland. Lochlin itself 
is described as a woody, mountainous country, covered with 
continual snow, more rugged, wild, and barren than even 
the north-western shore of Scotland. But the circumstance 
that the O^n^ and Shetland Isles are said in the poem to 


be tributary to the king of LocfaHn, is eyen more decisive. 
It leads directly to the certain epoch of Harold Harfagre's 
reign. This powerful sovereign, first formed Norway into a 
kingdom, and after having brought it completely into subjec- 
tion, extended his conquests so widely on every side that the 
dominion thus founded in the distant north, though little 
known or regarded by the rest of Europe, might almost have 
rivalled that of France formed by Charlemagne, his prede- 
cessors and successors. Iceland, the distant Iceland or Thule, 
so often sung by bards and historians, the chief seat of 
northern poetic art, was peopled, or at least repopulated by 
the Normans fieeing before the establishment of monarchy 
in France, who probably in some of their more distant expe- 
ditions even reached the continent of America, and certainly 
occupied the islands l3ring between Jutland and the western 
coast of Norway, and occasionally made inroads into that 
country. The mighty sovereign of Lochlin, consequently, 
abandoned his own dominions in order to pursue the marau- 
ders into the adjacent islands, discover their lurking places, 
and make himself master of the islands themselves. Difficul- 
ties must necessarily arise in fixing, with historical precision, 
the year in which Uie chief incidents in the poem of Fingal 
occurred, and reconnecting the usually trifling deviations 
between songs, which have for centuries been preserved and 
transmitted by oral tradition, and Bardic records, and the 
attested though often obscure facts of history. Still it may 
at least be considered certain that the kingdom of Lochlin 
was a part of Norway, and that the poems of Ossian belong 
to the Norman period. This latter fact is unquestionable^ 
even supposing that an adequate investigation of this some* 
what complicated subject should lead us to fix Fingal*s ex- 
ploits in the time of the Normans, but somewhat earlier than 
Harold Harfagre, and to understand by Lochlin the coast of 
Denmark or Jutland, an explanation which does not appear 
to me probable ; but in neither case could there be any great 
difference in the period. 

Early Scottish history has been divided by the latest and 
most learned investigator of the antiquities of that country 
(Chalmer's Caledonia, 4 vols. 4to. 1807,) into four distinct 
periods. The first is the Roman, extending from 80 to 446, 
Of this we need not speak, as Ossian's writings are certainly 



not 80 ancient. Then that of the Picts, 446-843. The 
iHcts^ as Chalmers, in opposition to Macpherson and his 
partisans, maintains and proves, were not of Teutonic, but of 
Welsh-British origin, and allied to the Celtic inhabitants of 
Wales, and the tribes settied in Bretagne, in France. The 
third period is that of the Scotch. This people appear to have 
emanated originally from Ireland, a colony from that island 
having settled in Argyleshire, the country of Fingal and 
Ossian. The Ossianic poems, and the principal events re- 
lated of Fingal in particular, belong, as our translator in* 
forms us, to the period in which Scotland and Ireland, (in 
Graelic, Alba and Eirinn,) ** were inhabited by a people of 
similar descent, language, and customs :" not, therefore, to 
the later period of the Picts, but rather to the Scottish 
period, which, according to Chalmers, extends from 843 to 
1097. This is succeeded by the Scottish Saxon, when the 
first Saxon colonies settled in that country; and Saxon 
customs, legislation, and langui^e gradually gained the 

The exploits and songs of Fingal and Ossian being once 
assigned to the period of the Normans, much that had before 
appeared obscure is elucidated, and difficulties which hither- 
to seemed insuperable vanish in a moment. The first we 
notice of these is the total silence observed with regard to 
the southern portion of the island of Great Britain. The 
Saxons, then reigning in England, were indeed so fully oc- 
cupied in defending their own dominions against the incur- 
sions of the Danes, that they had littie time to devote to an 
invasion of Scotiand. Both nations, too, were united by 
similarity of religious belief. The Anglo-Saxons were 
Christians, and that faith had long since been diffused in 
Scotiand, although its progress was very gradual, and it 
was long before its dominion and authority was universally 

Many dwellers on the rocky fastnesses of the distant 
Highlands, and many chiefs of the old tribes, were either 
ignorant, of, or refused to accept the doctrines of Christi- 
anity. The worship of the Druids, however, had long been 
totally extinct ; and this circumstance may account for the 
absence of any reference in these poems to their tenets or 
institutions, as well as for the peculiar Ossianic mythology, 


or rather its total deficiency in that respect, —a defidency, 
which contribates to fix the apparent origin of the poems at 
a period, which varillating in an undecided mediam, was 
partially free from crude and harharons superstitions, yet 
not influenced by any pure spiritual faitii. Ossian seems 
like a melancholy echo from the Toice of a ruined nation, 
the last Tanisfaing shadow of man's departing £iith in an- 
cient mythology. Besides the spirits of departed heroes 
hovering around their mountains, shrouded in mist aii^ 
cloud, Ossian knows no immortal or divine being : he names 
none, except the Loduinn, who, howeyer, was worshipped, 
not in Scotland or Ireland, not in Alba or E^rinn, but in 
the distant realm of Lochlin, and ought (wobably to be 
identified with Odin, so long the supreme divinity of Scan- 
dinavia. It is as if the unhappy race, whose last expiring 
groans were heard in Ossian, had no kmger any divinities 
of their own, and therefore turned with longing hearts to 
the majestic heroes and demigods of the happier Scandina* 
vian north. 

It is not improbable that the worship of Odin had been 
introduced by the Normans into the Orkney and Shetland 
isles; and from the frequent mention made of him in the 
poems of Ossian, we are almost tempted to believe that the 
gods of Scandinavia were regarded with especial reverence 
and affection, at least by that race of heroes of whom Fingal 
was the chief. Their expeditions and voyages had conti- 
nually brought them into contact with the Scandinavian 
kings, and they had learned to know each other, not in 
hostile combat alone, but at the banquet of friendship and 
hospitality ; they were, in fact, linked in bonds of affection, 
their alliance being still more closely cemented by a mar- 
riage with Trenmor, the ancestOT of their race. 

<* King of LochliB, said Fiogil, 
Thy blood flows in the Tcins of thy foe. 
Our fathers met in battle, 
Beeaiue they loved the strife of spmn* 
But often did they feast in the hiJl, 
And send round Uie joy of the sheU." 

Fhtffdi, hook yj. 

From this half warlike, half friendly intercourse with the 
Scandinavian heroes, the lords of Lochlin, Ossian probably 


derived his knowledge of Odin. It mast, in the first place, 
be admitted that the freqnent references to Scandinavia, 
found not in legends and ballads alone, bat apparent also in 
the daring actions and poetic genios of the Nonnan race, 
had probably some indirect infiaenoe in ronsing the spirit of 
Graelic song and kindling the fancy of the Scottish bards ; 
although the inventive and poetic faculty of Graelic and 
Scandinavian, and, above all, of Celtic and Grerman min- 
strelsy, differ most distinctly. 

The new impulse which the genius of the Normans re- 
ceived after the time of HarcM Harfagre, like that which 
stirred in France and Grermany in the period of Charle- 
magne, (^>erated very generally in the development of tradi- 
tion and poetiy. In the North, more especially in Iceland, 
the traditions of Odin, and the songs of the Edda, were 
kindled into new life by the Normans who fied thither, and 
when Christianity reached the distant shores of Thule, were 
perhaps even more widely circulated and collected* 

Still the Norman race, who planted themselves on the 
further 8h<»es of France, seem, in embracing Christianity, 
to have discarded both the faith and the language of their 
ancestors. Tet the bold, romantic spirit whieh they brought 
with them from the North, continued during many centuries 
to be the peculiar characteristic of their race. They pro- 
bably were the first who recorded the deeds of Charlemagne 
and the brave Roland, in the form of an epic poem. In the 
time of William the Conqueror they carried the ballad of 
lUdand with them into England, and had a great and essen- 
tial share in producing the poetry of the Crusades. 

The exploits of Fingal, and ^e songs of Ossian, if we 
assign to the former the earliest period in which they could 
possibly have occurred, and suppose the songs to have been 
almost contemporary with the actions recorded, cannot have 
been earlier than the conclusion of the ninth or the opening 
of the tenth century. It accidentally happens that their 
appearance was simultaneous with that of many other grand 
poetical works. The development of the Edda in its present 
form took place about this time in Iceland, while the 
knightly deeds of Charlemagne and Roland became the 
theme of Norman song. The eastern poet, Ferdousi, about 
the same time collected in his immortal work the history of 


Persia, and the traditions of her ancient kings and warriora. 
Not much later, too, the Spanish Cid performed those ex- 
ploits, which were almost immediatelj celebrated in heroic 
tales, and made the subject of charming soDgs and ballads ; 
while in Germany the song of the Niebelungea appeared, re- 
lating the legend of Attila and of his last marriage, — the 
misfortunes inflicted upon Germany by the Frankish and 
Gothic heroes, — no records of which as yet existed either in 
the Upper German or the Saxon language. 

All these works appeared in the very heart of that long 
period of time usually designated the "night of the middle 
ages," a term, perhaps, well fitted to express the isolated ex- 
istence of nations and individuals, and the interruption of 
that universal, active intercooTBe prevailing in the later 
period of Soman dominion. So also in respect to the gifts 
of imagination, which were no longer bo vridely and gene- 
rally diffused, and because the business and occupation of 
the day was not then prosecuted with so much skill and 
dexterily as In modem times, that remarkable period in 
the civilization of mankind may indeed be termed a night ; 
but how starlight^ — how radiant was that night ! Now, on 
the contrary, we are wrapt in the gloom and confusion of a 
lingering twilight. The stars which shone upon that night 
are dim, many of them sunk even below the horizon, yet no 
day has risen upon us ! More than once, indeed, mea have 
bid us hail the dawn of a new sun, bringing universal 
knowledge, happiness, and prosperity ; but the results have 
by no means justified the rash anticipation ; and if some 
promise still seem to herald the approach of day, it is but 
the chill breath of the morning air, which ever precedes the 
breaking light. 

My observations on these Ossianic poems have beeit 
founded on the principle of conceding to them the highest 
possible antiquity, which is at all consistent with historical 
truth, and at the same time acquiescing at once in their rela- 
tive authenticity. Certainly, unless the contrary be proved 
by extraneous circumstances, no internal evidence militates 
against the supposition that such a hero-race as that of Fingal 
existed on the north-west coast of Scotiand in the ninth and 
tenth centuries ; that it actually produced an Ossian, who, as 
I»ird and hero, celebrated his own exploits and those of hia 


race. If his constant recun'ence to the melancholy remem- 
brance of departed ancestors, and the earlier period of their 
glory, become by frequent repetition monotonous and weary- 
ing, still the continual interweaving of the person of the bard 
into the history narrated, affords a happy poetical and uni- 
versal point of union, and greatly contributes to enhance 
that fascinating interest with which the poems have inspired 
so many readers and hearers. The circumstance is, indeed, 
so peculiarly propitious, that many succeeding bards have 
adopted the form once suggested, and written and sung as if 
in Ossian's person. The discoveries made by other investi- 
gators, in regard to the origin and transmission of old songs 
in general, make it appear probable, if not certain, that these 
poems were originally distinct songs and romances ; the com- 
plicated construction, and the confused interpolation of 
various episodes, apparently the work of a later hand, may 
thus be satisfactorily accounted for. 

The Ossianic poems may, from their general historical tenor, 
be arranged in one consecutive series, forming a record of 
the history, adventures, and exploits of the race of Fingal ; 
they may be further divided into three classes, according to 
their intrinsic importance and their relation to the leading 
subject. The first class comprises songs commemorating the 
deliverance of Ireland by Fingal, from the assaults of the 
Normans; these, in fact, are the pith and essence of the 
work. I place in the second the earlier Norwegian adven- 
tures and voyages, which tend to introduce the principal 
event; and next, Fingal's avenging the murder of the 
youthful king of Eirin, related in the poem " Temora." 

Although there is little internal historical evidence to dis- 
turb the probability of this general scheme, still it is quite 
possible that many of the various songs, and the events re- 
corded in them, whether of an earlier or later date, were 
merely intended as adjuncts of the principal theme. Poetical 
fictions relating to the parent are often younger than those 
of which the child is the subject ; for when the legendary 
history of any great hero and his exploits is once known 
and popular, succeeding bards and poets, treading easily 
in the path already opened for them, soon assemble round 
him sons, ancestors, a whole race of relatives and pro- 
geny, while the original history is continually made the 



groundwork of new fictions and poems. A similar exclu- 
sive and imitative impulse displayed itself in the period of 
artistic poetij, rensopying and re-embodjing every style and 
arrangement ; and in older legendary times it woriked in- 
cessantly upon the same mat^ial, prolonging and varying 
the theme onoe chosen long afl«r its original spirit had fled 
and its eariy vigour had become exhaust^ The last dass (^ 
poems may comprise all the unconnected adventures, and 
numerous episodes introduced^ with the tragic tales of love 
and murder ; these latter bear a strong resemblance to the 
later Scottish ballads, so many of which have appeared once 
the Percy edition, and in which the catastrc^he is usually 
tragic In these^ however, a nM»« truthful colouring pre- 
vail, and in 8(M&e among them the gloomy national taste is 
much ameliorated by the influence of Christianity and 
ehivalric sentiments. I turn now to the Edda, to which I 
have several times alluded in the course of my observations 
on Ossian, and whidi at this time engages the livdy atten- 
tion of Danish poets and critics, while in Germany also 
Grater, Hagen, and Grimm have furnished us with various 
elucidatory labours, and give the promise of completing them 
by still more ample supplementary observations. 

In fact, if any monument of the primitive northern world 
deserves a place among the earlier remains of the south, 
the Icelandic Edda must, next to the G^man ^' Niebdnngen 
lied," be deemed most worthy of that distinction. Tlie 
spiritual veneration for nature, to which the sensual Grreek 
was an entire stranger, gushes forth in the mysterious language 
and prc^hetic traditions of the Northern Edda with a full 
tide of enthusiasm and inspiration, sufficient to endure for 
centuries, and to supply a whole race of future bards and 
poets with a precious and animating elixir. The same de^ 
reverence for nature, though invested with the splendid 
colouring of Eastern diction and imagination, is also found 
in the Persian Zendavesta, presenting a striking contrast to 
the Grredc mythology, which, amid the surpassing beauty of 
its exterior forms, was material in its inmost principle ; fiir 
difierent £rom the pure and less corrupt spirit of that severe 
paganism which inspired our German forefathers. The 
vivid delineations and rich glowing abundance and anima- 
non of the Homeric pictures of the world are not more 


decidedly saperior to the miBty scenes and shsdowj forms of 
Ossian, than the northern £dda is in its sublimity to the works 
of Hesiod. No other mythology, poetry, or art, can rival the 
Greek in highly intellectaal development, and the external 
sensual beauty of form and style ; but in its inborn con* 
cepUons of nature, in the id^ on whidi its structure is 
based, the Greek mythology must yield the palm to the Per- 
sian Zendavesta, and the £idda <^ our own ancestors. The 
inexhaustible fertility and creative power of nature, repre- 
sented by significant material symbols, was the fundamental 
idea of Grreek theogony, while in the perpetual interchange 
of hatred and love^ in tibe attraction and repulsion of Eros 
and Ens, we trace the unvarying law of that natural dynamic 
force, which, continuaJly revolving upon itself, tends back- 
wards to the nothingness of its primsevai source. The later 
atomic philosophy, from which the materialism of the modems 
borrowed its molecotos, was latent in the <^ chaos of the 
Greek eosmogcmy. Single philosc^ers occasionally arose, 
who, rejecting and casting aside the old system <tf Greek my- 
thology, strove to exalt the simple original essence of nature 
concealed beneath the hfeless mass and rude veil of outer 
fcoms, and venerating that essence as water, fire, and vivify* 
ing air. Yet they were ignorant of that principle of ligkt 
which is the purest of ail moely natural elements, recognising 
nature as nature only, and not attributing to air, water, or 
fire those higher spiritual qualities with which they were 
endowed in ^e Northern coeukogony. The veneration for 
the dements, which was an essential principle in the Persian 
and German Theology, forms the purest and most spiritual 
part of the old beli^ in nature, and must not be confounded 
with the rude materialism prevailing among the Greeks, 
who suppose the woiid to have arisen from chaos, or to 
have bei^ framed of self-combining atoms, treating nature 
in her boundless creative power merely as an animal of in- 
exhaustible productive energy. Notwithstanding the per- 
fection of sensual art among the Grreeks, the spirituality of 
nature was entirely strange to them ; but it was commonly 
received and understood by tiie Persians and Germans who^ 
in spite of ^e difference of climate and situation, are yet 
congenial in language, character, and manners. 

The spirit of the Edda is undoubtedly tragic ; for a con- 

8 2 


stant veneration and contemplation of nature, if unaccom- 
panied by a knowledge of the Supreme Divinity, invariably 
produces in healthy and vigorous minds a tragic and melan- 
choly impression of life ; thus the inmost feeling of the 
poets of antiquity, in spite of the glowing brightness of 
their representations, has ever been tragic if not gloomy. 
The light of hope and joy, in works of poetry or fiction, can 
emanate only from the rays of that sun of righteousness^ 
truth, and love, which had never revealed itself to the genius 
of the ancients. 

The mythology of the North is also tragic ; yet its melan- 
choly is of a very different character from the gloom of the 
misty and almost idealess Ossian. Balder*, the most noble 
of the sons of Odin, falls a victim to inevitable death. Odin, 
the progenitor of heroes, the creator of light and of all 
things divine, is subdued in his last battle against the invad* 
ing powers of darkness ; the ancient seers have warned him 
of his doom, and in order that he may have more warriors 
around him on that fatal day of combat, the result of which 
he foresees though unable to averts he sends Death to sum- 
mon the noblest mortal heroes and assemble them in the 
Halls of Valhalla. Tet the tragic influence of this northern 
mythology, though deep and intense, is calmer and more 
gentle in its operation ; everything that love can inspire, of 
tender and beautiful, every glorious image that nature and 
the spring can supply, is interwoven with the tragedy, tem- 
pering its moumfulness, while at the same time the true, 
valiant spirit of old heroic times gives life and animation 
to the narrative. 

Still, in spite of all that Suhm, Sandtwig, Thorkelin, and 
Nyerup have done towards elucidating Northern antiquities, 
the Edda remains a theme for study rather than a source of 
immediate enjo3nnent. It requires to be interpreted by a poet, 
who combines dear and profound intellect with great powers 
of imagination, — who is capable of imravelling the mys- 
terious traditions and songs of the Edda, and transfusing 
them into poems which may speak intelligibly both to the 
outward senses, and to the deeper feelings of the soul. 

Fame reports that Denmark possesses even now such a 
poet and scald, inspired by the very spirit of Odin; and 

* See MalUtU Northern Antiquitiei, Bohn*s Standard Library , p. 117. 


certainly during the latter half of the eighteenth century, 
when the gifts of poetry had departed from all the other 
nations of Europe, no people except the Grermans, produced 
any equally distinguished poet, or cultivated the art with so 
much success as the Danes. 

We have in fact been wrong in so long neglecting and 
undervaluing the modern poetry of the North, for each na- 
tive poet in that region stands in many respects far nearer 
the source than ourselves, and his productions, even if con- 
sidered only as guides or waymarks to the understanding of 
the Edda, will prove as such valuable, and entitled to our 
warmest gratitude. 

Grundtwig, a highly intellectual Danish author, whose 
work, "Nordens Mytologi eller Udsigt over Eddalaeren, 
1808," forms an instructive introduction to the study of 
Danish poetry, gives the following brief summary of such 
modem works as are connected with the themes of Northern 

^^ Ewald composed his ' Balder,' and in that poem a dark 
resemblance of the majesty of the North breathed forth ; 
but the poet himself, standing on the outer circle of the 
world he seeks to represent, is the more easily comprehended 
by those who, like him, stand without. 

"The manly Pram felt that Thor would appear very 
differently in the sphere of nature, and in that in which 
he himself lived and sang. He saw the power of the North 
unfold itself in Starkodder, and often have I lamented that 
he turned away from — 

** * The muse who once inspired the Runic seer 
With artless songs of free heroic fame, — 
Of fights wherdn proud chiefs of glorious name 
The roek-Uke giants fell'd ; ' » 

but he, glancing around and discovering the feebleness and 
degeneracy of the times, broke out into an exclamation of 
sorrow, oidy too well founded: — 

'* * No heart desires to hear thy glorions tone 1 
Who heeds, tho* now thy thunders roll around? 
They fear, and flee, but Thee they honour not I ' 

<' In his poetical despair he turned to the pursuit of clear- 
ness and perspicuity alone, and although his natural genius 

s s 


forbtde him long to submit to that cold rnde school, he yet 
dosed his eyea, refunng to look upon the rnqjestic form, 
which, considering the height on which he stood, must other- 
wise have been ccHUpelled to disclose itself to him. 

" What can be said of the remaining poets, — of those be- 
longing to that period which people have not blushed to call 
the golden time of Danish poetry? probably because the 
purest gold would have been lost opon their doll sight and 
erriog judgment A period when all who could write a 
verse, with rhyme or without it, or even a tolerable song or 
ballad, enrolled himself, as worthy, in his own estimatioD, to 
rank among the poets and scolds. What eoold the North 
antidpate &W such poets ? It had, indeed, good cause to 
fear them, for some few wished to bead in the steps of Ewald 
and Pram ; and bewildering themaelres in their efforts to 
attain that object, burdened their poetry with crowds of 
mythic words, and the names of ancient divinities. Every 
reader who has sense to appreciate trne grandeur and beanty, 
will turn with disgust from snch mythob^cal sport ; and 
while the praisewcolhy sowers stand horrified and almost 
dumb with asfamishment, because the empty fansks do Dot 
spring up amid the nibtMsh and bring forth fmit a hno- 
dred-fold^ the unhappy idea that Northern Mythol<^ is but 
an empty unmeaning verbosity, takes deeper root in the 
minds of all who see it c<mtinnally r^reseated und^ that 
fivm without contradiction or censure. 

" Baggesen had too much of the poef a sonl to become 
one of those who from the diction and phraseology of the 
£dds constructed stilts, in the fftUadous h(^ of being 
thought sublime. Yet, with grief I acknowledge it, the 
injuries he inflieted wt the divinities of the Nortli were 
almost greater than they had endured from either of the 
others: for he had it in his power to injure them, and 
employed that power; — treating them with arbitrary hand, 
as if they had been his own peculiar property, he set the 
fool's-cap on their heads, and held them up to derision and 

" Thus stood the gods of our fathers ; their crowns cast 
down, the sceptres broken in their hands, till OehlenscblSger 
the Scald ventured to seek them where they stood in their 
deacdatiai, yet ilhunined by a radiance whirti no sfaadowii 


oould whoUj obscure^ no veil ahrood Iran the ejes of the 
poet. Often, indeed, did he believe that he had found them, 
when he grasped onlj their shadowj fanam ; often has he 
adorned them with stranger robes of sonthem gold and 
porple splendonr, woven ij his own skilful hand, beeanse 
he too hastily overlo<^ed their pecaHar eharacteristic fea- 
tures. StiU, what hitherto he has not understood, the future 
will reveal to him, for he has power to comprehend ; and 
even should it not be so^ he will enjoj the eternal fiune of 
having first inspired the North with veneration for its gods, 
and l^stowed upon them such symbolic attire as was meet 
for their ^orions fame.* 

To these names I would snbjoin that of the critical writer 
Grundtwig, whose poem of '^Frejs und Qerda's liebe'' 
proved him to be, in the noblest sense of the word, a poet 

A Qerman Sealdsong also deserves to be associated with 
those I>uush imitators and versifiers of the Edda, the <*Hero 
of the North*" (Hdd des Nordens)^ by Friedrich Yon 
Fouqu& In this poem, inqiired and ^y penetrated bj the 
q>irit of Odin, the poetical art of the North stands revealed, 
in all its glorious beauty, to our e nra p t ur ed gaie. The feel- 
ing in which this work is conceived will be best expressed 
by the foUowing Hues, extracted firom the auihor^s preli- 
minaij address : — 

** Oh had ye but your noble firthcrs ioufffat» 
Aftking their gmdiDg aid and tbenr*! aloneb 
Long lince^ instead atmanaBO^ early dawn 
The day's waim sansfainc. voaU hasa sparfclad round you. 
Te woiUd not ! To the stmngai'a soul ye dun^ 
And fi>r yonrselTes ye vrought a stunted form 
Of finreign mould.'* 

lliis poem presoits^ in three divimons^ a dramatio version 
of the entire legend of Sigurd, from the 8can£navian text ; 
besides the Vobunga Saga, and other Icelandic Sagas already 
known» it contains also a few passages^ never before puUished, 
from the old Saemnnda Ed&, as, for example^ the Sigurdar 
Quida. The historical purpose of this 8i^ is the same 
as that of the Niebehmgen lied, varying only in a few 
single particulars. The first part relates to Sigurd's heroic 
exploits and adventures, his two-fold love, misfortunei and 
death. The seocmd ccmtains an account of the avenging of 

t 4 


his murder, and the defeat of the warriors in Attila's burg. 
The third, entitled Aslauga, relates the fate of his daugh- 
ter, who, for many years, lives unknown in the disguise of 
a shepherdess, but afterwards becomes the wife of King 
Regner Lodbrok, so celebrated in Danish songs. The dra- 
matic structure adopted by the German poet was not, per- 
haps, essentially necessary. A' narrative epic poem might 
have been equally suitable ; yet, in reproducing the poetical 
labours of the early Sagas, the dramatic form has at least 
this advantage, that many points which perhaps could not be 
quite clearly defined and explained are thus set more percep- 
tibly and in a more varied aspect before the eyes of the reader. 
I believe we shall do the German poet most honour by not 
dividing him from his work ; but, adopting the spirit of his 
own introductory observation, " the legend claims your at- 
tention, I but humbly follow it afar ; whoever would wish 
it to be disguised, let him not accompany us." The theatre 
of artistic vanity, and that style of poetry which ministers 
to the fashionable taste of the day, must be abandolied, ere 
the theme of heroic tradition can be worthily treated ; for it 
is the great prerogative of a legend that, instead of being a 
grand artistic composition, the creation of an individual 
mind, its <)peration extends thi'ough many varying periods 
of time, and many generations of men and poets, like the 
spirit of undying nature, not owning any single earthly 
master, nor formed to bend beneath his arbitrary will. The 
German poet, in this hallowed grove of early poetry, has 
gathered for himself a crown of undying verdure, twined 
of the oak leaves of his fatherland ; without, therefore, dwell- 
ing longer on his own great poetical merits, as on a separate 
feature, let us rather turn to the study of the poem itself. 
In comparing the German Niebelungen with this Northern 
poem, the softer spirit of Christian chivalry which fioats 
gently around the former, softening particular details and 
circumstances, gives it the superiority ; still, in the Northern 
Niebelungen we are sensible of a more profound feeling, of 
that prophetic foreboding supposed to reside in the works 
and in the operations of nature. Immediately from that 
fountain a stream of melancholy, desire, and love gushes forth, 
flowing on unceasingly towards us, and calling up long 
buried remembrances. We see enthroned in flames the 


heroic maiden, Sigurd's first beloved.* When guilt has en- 
tered, and peace and happiness are for ever banished by 
revenge and cruelty, still the desert waste of the now com- 
pleted tragedy is lighted by some gleams of promise. As- 
lauga, the child of the most noble affection, appears like 
the beneficent light of returning hope, and after many 
surprising adventures, becomes the wife of Begner Lodbrok 
and queen of the Danish warriors.f Brynhilda is the most 
prominent character in the Northern poem, and far more 
nobly portrayed than in the Grerman ; in this last-mentioned, 
on the contrary, the character of Attila is less fearfully cruel, 
and, perhaps even, is drawn in too favourable a light to be 
strictly consistent with historical veracity. The noble- 
minded, benevolent Rudiger is the perfect impersonation 
of a Christian hero, and could not have been conceived 
or embodied by a heathen imagination. Each version of the 
legend is thus seen to have its own peculiar features and local 

But how, it may be asked, can the Northern warrior 
Sigurd have become actor in a history originating among 
Frankish and Burgundian heroes, on the shores of the Rhine, 
and the scene of which is laid in Attila's kingdom on the 
banks of the Danube ? This difficulty may be solved by the 
following consideration. The legend of the Niebelungen and 
of Attila, first sung in old Grothic songs, then transcribed into 
the Latin, or imitated in the Saxon, may indeed have been 
originally confined within one circle, although in the course pf 
time much extraneous matter became interwoven with the 
original text. The Danish hero who reigned in Southern 
Jutland was not so very distant from Saxony nor from the 
northern Grerman territory. Siegfried too, who granted 
his favour and protection to Witikind, the leader of the 

* See Biynhilda. HerberCs Works, toL i p. 149. 

f All this history of Aslauga is completely at yariance with Herbert 
snd others. *< Regner*s wife by a second marriage was certainly named 
Aslauga, and she has here been erroneously identified with the illegitimate 
child of Brynhilda, by Sigurd, who lived in the time of Attila, or in 
truth was Attila himself: but this is a gross error and anachronism.*' 
Attiia reigned from 433 to 453, and Regner Lodbrok is said to have been 
killed in 794. — Note to the Dying Song of Regner Lodbrok, fferberVs 
Works, vol. i. p. 294. : also MaUefs Northern Antiquities, Bohn, S. L, 
p. 384. — Trans, 


y^Saxma in their wars against Charlemagne, nught easily 
awaken a remembrance of the ancient Sieg&ied, and con- 
tribute to diffbae the traditionary glory of that name^ and 
of the Jutland hero am<Hig both ^zons and Grormans. 

In the last Austrian versioQ of the Niebelungen Lied, their 
native and fayonrite hero Bndiger is introduced, and a si* 
milar early, though scarcely so remarkable, anadironiamy 
may, in the Northern Grerxnan yersion of the poem, have 
prompted the adoption of the Jutland warrior Sigurd. StiD 
the anachronism is cleariy proved, for althoi^h much that 
is me^e^y fiction enters into the account of §igurd in the 
Northern legend, his historical position is ascertained by 
the marriage of his daughter Aslauga with the Dani^ king 
Signer Lodbrok, 730—794. Even in au th entic history^ 
some circumstances are related of Sigurd, the immediate 
predecessor of Begner Lodbrok, which decidedly appertaio 
to the other Sigurd, the fabulous dragon-killer, Fkfiusbane, 
and are borrowed from the Grerman legend. We are, there- 
fore, justified in supposing the same to have ocenrred in 
othcnr p<Hnt8, and it c^tainly could not have been easy, 
throughout both history and legend, to distinguish deadhf 
between the two Rudders, and decide the particular points 
in which one may have Ix^rowed firom tiie otiier. Anachro- 
nisms of this sort are frequently found in the heroic poems 
of the andaits, and arise from the influence of national par- 
tiality; poetical and patriotic impulse have at least equal 
weight Thus, in the instance of iBneas and Dido^ the 
TVojan hero is, according to history and chronology, some 
hundred years older than Dido ; yet the poet unites them 
in the bonds of love. Similar examples mighty no doubly 
be cited in Homer, were we as capable of mwdng historical 
comments on his poems as we often imagine ourselvee to be 
of censuring and criticising them. 

The Northern l^end» happily as it has been modernised 
by a bard whose mind was deeply imbued with its spirit^ 
and who adhered doedy to the text, ia stiS^ ahhoi^h so 
vividly representedy a tradition only, a mem(»iai of earlier 
times, the echo of a former world. The most essential ele* 
ment in the poem is the fresh spirit of nature breathing 
throu^M>ttt, a peculiarly Northern impulse, which is deeply 
implanted in our hearts, and is even more strikingly seen 


in Shakspeare, who, bj its infinence^ enters completelj into 
our daflj world, and becomes again Uying and present with 
us. Shakspeare is, therefore^ most jnslly acknowledged 
to be the fayonrite poet not onlj of the English, but of all 
nations of Teutonic origin : excepting onlj when a foreign 
and nnnatond influence intervenes^ and people hare already 
become false to their original diameter and better feeling. 
What more can be said of this noble poet ? He is a man 
among his compeers^ so manj of whom, interpreting too 
literally that prerogatiTe of eternal youth so willingly con- 
ceded to him, grasp at it and abusing it, faiL We may, 
indeed, apply to him the words of his own Hamlet : -» 

** He waft A man, take bim Ibr all in all 
We shall not look upon hu like again.** 

Clear and intelligible eren to the understanding of a child, 
wondrous and fascinating to the youthful imagination, he is 
stiU the friend and felkiw traveller of the full grown man, 
the confidant of his thoughts and most serious fecSdngs ; when 
the prime of life is past, the poet is still his faithful corn- 
panion ; many other associates, to whom he dung in youth, 
appear empty and iiiToIous^ and while he marrds to what 
they owed their former fascinating charm, our glorious ISiak* 
qpeare retains all his value to the last, unshaken by the few 
solitary blemishefl^ defects of taste, as they are called, which 
are sometimes pointed out, but which are in general merdy 
ihe offspring of our own misapprehensiiNi. 

A puralld es»mple exists in another sphere of intellectual 
exertion, widdy removed from that of poetry. Although 
many, who profess to discern the golden era of the Latin 
language in the doquent periods of Cicero alone, censure 
the silyery style of Tadtus, and trace in it the evidence of 
a declining and already degenerate taste, his works are still 
preferred to all others, and form the eternal handbook of the 
contemplative statesman, or tiie serious inquirer into the 
history of the world. The scope of this comparison may 
appear almost too extensive to be correct ; still there is <»ie 
point in which the genius of both may be exactly compared. 
Never, since the time of Tadtus^ has the character of a 
tyrant be en dra wn with so modi truth and energy as that 
of Heniy Vlll. by Shakspeare^ and yet^ at the same tim^ 


with 80 little exaggeration, with such truth in the external 
expression and colouring, that his king-like daughter Queen 
Elizabeth could endure to witness the representation.* Henry, 
notwithstanding the vehemence and cruelty of his disposi- 
tion, was yet a slave to forms. He played the tyrant in his 
own family and within the circle of his court ; but his man- 
dates came from the depth of his cabinet, and his measures 
were often circuitous and indirect. He thus became reserved 
from his position, even if he had not been so by nature. An 
equally arbitrary and ambitious character has been portrayed 
by Shakspeare in Richard IH. Yet the temperament of 
the latter is widely different from that of Henry VIII., war- 
like and almost heroic, despising and spurning all restraints 
of form. The vigorous delineation of this character has 
been sometimes censured as unnatural and exaggerated ; but 
those only judge thus who are ignorant of the depths of the 
human heart, or perhaps think it not expedient that those 
depths should be laid bare. Whoever has studied human 
life in its grandest proportions, and meditated on the records 
of history, will acknowledge the picture to be but too true 
to nature and probability. In the grand representation of 
human life which Shakspeare places before us, we see the 
whole world in movement and action. The ghosts of the 
past seem, as it were, wandering in the background, while 
their expressive forms and images point to the distant future 
and seem even to link themselves therewith. 

Having thus directed your attention to this peculiar pro- 
perty of Shakspeare's genius, I -would further remark that 

* ** Henry VIII. has somewhat of a prosaic appearance; for Shaks- 
peare, artist-like, adapted himself always to the quality of his materials. 
If others of his works, both in elevation of fancy and in energy of pathos 
and character, tower far above this, we have here, on the other hand, 
occasion to admire his nice powers of discrimination, and his perfect 
knowledge of courts and the world. What tact was requisite to represent 
before the eyes of the queen subjects of such a delicate nature, and in 
which she was personally so nearly concerned, without doing violence to 
the truth ! He has unmasked the tyrannical king, and to the intelligent 
observer exhibited him such as he was actually ; haughty and obstinate, 
voluptuous and unfeeling, extravagant in conferring favours, and revenge- 
ful under the pretext of justice ; and yet the picture is so dexterously 
handled that a daughter might take it for favourable." ( A, W, wm SchlepeVt 
Dramatic Literature^ Bohn'a Stanndard Library, p. 439.) — Trans, 


he possesses, beyond all other poets, a profound and compre- 
hensive knowledge of the human mind and heart ; a power 
which even his adversaries have never ventured to question. 

On this too is founded a far loftier fame and more per- 
manent reputation, than his talent as a dramatic poet could 
alone have procured him ; a fame dwelling in a loftier re- 
gion than that of the ordinary stage, and completely inde- 
pendent of the laws of theatrical taste. 

Had Shakspeare not been endowed with higher merit than 
that of being the first and most excellent poet of the British 
stage it would be more difficult to bring the dispute concern- 
ing his merit to a distinct and triumphant conclusion. For 
every nation of peculiar temperament, possessing in the 
drama a general point of union for its intellectual strength, 
adapted to the requirements of the national taste, is led to 
cherish an undue partiality for its own stage and dramatic 
poets, disregarding and despising the peculiarities of others* 
Let us, merely for the sake of argument, imagine a French- 
man and a German disputing concerning the respective fea- 
tures and merit of Gothe and Schiller, or Comeille and 
Eacine. It will be seen at once that the contest is likely to 
prove interminable, as it is almost impossible to arrive at 
any satisfactory conclusion, that is to say, for either party to 
be convinced, or for both to understand each other. The 
numerous theoretical works and treatises written on the 
dramatic art give new nourishment to a contest founded on 
prejudices so difficult to eradicate. It might be almost more 
easy for a dispute concerning different points of faith and 
doctrine to be satisfactorily decided than an argument on 
theatrical points, since neither party can be won to yield one 
hairbreadth of their opinions or prejudices. The Frenchman 
carries his partiality for his own dramatic poets so far as 
even to compare them with Sophocles and Euripides, a 
parallel which may be more easily supported in France, 
where few people have any knowledge of Greek antiquity, 
than it could be in other countries, in which, as in England 
and Germany, classical learning is considered an essential 
branch in the cultivation of the mind, and absolutely indis* 
pensable to a good education, especially among the higher 
claises. We must not, however, deceive ourselves by the 
supposition that Spaniards or Englishmen, though less ob* 


troflive and Tiole&t in their opinions^ ding leas firmly to 
CiJderon, or to Shakspeftre. How can it be otherwise, when 
these gifited dramatic poets oonnespood so entirely with their 
national taste and reqnirements ? 

I have been led to express so decided a partialltj for 
Shakspeare from the hct that he was indeed very different 
to, and infinitely grander than, a mere dramatic poet. I do 
not, however, b^eve that it would be possible to adapt 
Shakspeare's method, and allow him to give laws to our own 
stage and drama, because I believe that every stage must be 
subject to peculiar laws and forms suitable to the period of 
time and character of the nation. Whether the laws of our 
stage have ever 3ret been completely fomed I must leave 
undedded* Shakspeare's plans oould not be made available 
with us witiiout great modifications and alterations, and 
Schiller himself appears to have been at l^igUi convinced 
of this even in his treatment of details, although he com- 
menced by adopting that form as far at least as he had 
B&zed its intention. 

Q'he lofty genius and profound schemes and arrangement 
of the Kngliflh dramatist confer a far higher degree of value 
on his dramas than any mere form ooukL bestow. Yet if the 
peculiar plan which he adopted be escamined we shall discover 
that it was frfuned and fitted by his genius to convey all he 
desired; and this is but another striking instance o£ the 
comprehensive and piercing intellect which makes him so far 
surpass all other poets in the perception of the human cha- 
racter : this discriminating power did not abandon him either 
in the intention or execution of his woik. There are many 
instances of this kind in the ^' Early flnglish Theatre,''^ 
in which Ludwig Tieck has made a most wdcome offering to 
the lovers of Shakspeare. Pericles, which has been histori- 
cally proved to belong to Shakspeare, and concerning the 
authenticity of which not even the most incredulous now 
attempt to raise a question, is certainly one of his earlier 
compositions, and might indeed be called a poetical wood-cut : 
we ought not then to ask too much, from it, but be content to 
find ^t as a poem, it possesses in due proportion the veiy 
features which in the time of Diirer distinguished a wooa- 
cut. Such were the trifling beginnings from which Shak- 

• AltengliBdien ThcRter. Beilin, 1811. 

PAST m.] BnAXfiPSASE. 271 

speare's matured genias arose. How many degreee must he 
have ascended before he reached the zenith of his powers, 
and that eneigy and Tigovur of expression which chaiacterise 
his later works! The ''Pinner of Wakefield,"* not writ- 
ten by Shakspeare, but bdonging to his time, is a popular 
comedy, and remarkable firom the joyous animation and 
genuine hunKrar which prevails throughout. The dramatic 
rivals and predecessors of Shakspeare were rather over- 
educated pedants than rude and uncultured men of genius, 
and their sQrle presents a clumsy imitation of Seneca, or of 
the French. Shakspeare confined himself entirely to the 
popular drama, which still survived the wreck of so many 
abOTtive efforts, a branch which, although in itself little 
esteemed, has contributed greatly to the development of the 
dramatic art ; it ezerdsed great influence over the polished 
nations of antiquity, and even the slight vestiges remaining 
are valuable as lively memorialB of national manners and 

The <^d King John is, perhaps, the most remarkable play 
in this collection. Whoever can entertain a doubt as to the 
authenticity of this old work should read the scene between 
Hubert and the httle Arthur, when the former is employed 
to put out the prince's eyes, or that in which Arthur springs 
from his prison-wall and dies. Yet even this scene, when 
compared with the later work, strikingly illustrates the care 
and consideration which this master bestowed on the complete 
development of his original sch^ne. The scene in the old 
play is indeed true, simple, mournful, and calm, but more 
commonplace and rhetorical, compared with the peculiar fea- 
tures of childish character, the sad spectacle of suffering in- 
nocence, which, from its very naivete and simplicity, touch 
the soul so deeply. This remark applies more particularly 
to that scene in whidi Hubert is employed to put out Prince 
Arthur's eyes, and where the latter, by his pathetic entreaties, 
at length wins him to abandon his cruel purpose. The 

* " Pinner of Wakefield. See A. W. von Sehlqipel^ Dramatic Literature, 
page 45S. He there mentione the Pinner of Wakefield, and Grim, the 
Collier of Croydon, as belonging to a period before Shakspeare, and both 
" handled whh hearty jomlity ; ** the same play appears in Malone as the 
'* Piner of Wakefldd ;" and in Dodsley*s Collection, as ** George a 
Greene, the Pindar of Wakeftdd."— See also p. 276. imfnu 


treatment in the older work of that scene in which Arthur 
dies might almost be preferred. 

This poet, who so often brings to light the deepest secrets 
of the human hearty and who has such power to move and 
thrill the soul, as no poet ever, before or since, has possessed, 
comprehended by the aid of his own clear intellect and pene- 
trating judgment the whole variety and mystery of human 
existence. Since the time of Homer no pictures have been 
produced so life-like and universal as those which Shakspeare 
places before our eyes, comprehensively grand, yet faithful 
to nature, even in minutest details and personal character- 
istics. He is the dramatic Homer of the North, of our North, 
the later, civilised, and polished North, no longer ruling by 
the power of nature alone, but in the added strength of intel- 
lectual energy, a highly-developed world variously framed 
and moulded. 

Thus have I attempted to trace the poetic art of our fore* 
fathers back to its original root and source. What fruit that 
same old root might have produced if planted beneath a 
southern heaven, or what it may yet bear without doing too 
much violence to its original nature, will require separate 
investigation, and must be reserved for some future occasion. 

9art Sl^. 



In the preceding treatise on the poetry of the North, I noticed 
a few of Shakspeare's earlier dramas, translated by Tieck, 
and published in his '^ Altenglischen Theater." Although 
these dramas have frequently been rejected as worthless, and 
are indeed generally excluded from the editions of Shak- 
speare's plays, I shaU nevertheless annex a few observations 
on their peculiar style and character. 

Most of them have been historically proved to belong to 
Shakspeare, nor will their authenticity be now called in 
question by the most profound critics, yet they certainly be- 


long to a much earlier period, than his other more generally 
accepted works. In regard to a few of the other pieces, the 
internal evidence of their authenticity is sufficiently decisive 
to be almost taken for a certainty. This is particularly the 
case with the old King John. No one who has really 
studied Shakspeare will deny the work in question to be his ; 
yet, in comparison with the later play, it affords a remarkable 
proof of the studious solicitude with which that great master 
of his art worked out and completed the ideas embodied in 
his earliest outlines. 

The Monol(^ue spoken by little Arthur before he springs 
from his prison walls, and its continuation after he has taken 
the fatal leap, and lies with broken limbs and mangled body 
at the foot of the tower, is in the old work to the following 

* Enter ytnmg Arthur on tht watU. 

Now help good bap, to further my intent 
Crosse not my path with any more extremes : 
I Tenter life to gaine my Ubertie ; 
And if I die, world*s troubles have sn end. 
Feare gives disswade the strength of my resolve ; 
My bolde will faile, and then, alas, 1 fidl ; 
And if I fidl, no question death is next. 
Better deast, and live in priscm still ; 
Prison, said I? nay, rather death than so. 
Comfort and courage come again to me, 
I'll venter sure ; *tis but a leape for life. 

(He leaps down, and, bruising his bones, after he wakes from his 
trance speakes thus) : — 

Hoe ! who is nigh ? some bodie take me up : — 

Where is my mother ? let me speak with her. 

Who hurts me thus? speak, hoe ! where are you gone ? 

Ay me, poore Arthur, I am here alone ! 

Why called I mother? how did I forget? 

* Extracted from « The First and Second Part of The troublesome 
Baigne of King John, containing the Entrance of I^ewis, the French 
king's Sonne ; with the poysoning of King John by a Monke ; with the 
disooverie of King Richard Cordelion's Base Sonne (vulgarly named the 
Bastard Falconbridge) ) also the death of King John, at Swinstead 
Abbey. As they were acted by the Queen's Maiestie's Players. Written 
by W. Shakqpeare. Imprinted in London by Valentine Simraes, for 
John Helme, 1611.** — Tnnu. 



My laUe— my fidle— hath killed my mother's soone ! 

How will she weep at tidings of m j deatfae. 

My deathe indeed ; O God 1 my booes are burst I 

Sweet Jesu, save my soul I forgive my rash attempt I 

Comfort my mother, shield her from despair 

"When she shall hear my tn^cke orerthrowe ! 

My heart controls the office of my tongueb 

My vital powers forsake my bruised trunke ; 

I die, I die I heaven take my fleeting soule, 

And^ lady mother, all good hap to thee ! 

Tlie passage just quoted cannot fail to remoTe eveiy re- 
maining doubt timtmay exist in regard to the authenticity of 
the old plaj : for what other poet could have dictated it? * 
In the later drama the two following lines are substitated for 
the original monologue : — 

" Alas ! my uncle's-rspirit is in these stones ! 
God take my soul, and England has my bones ! " 

This circumstance gives the old work greatly the advantage 
in reading at least, if not also in poetical vsJue. I imagine 
that beautiful speech must have been thus curtailed and 
sacrificed, because too long to be recited on the stage, in so 
painful a position. How rich must that genius h&ve been 
which could sacrifice so much beauty, and yet possess an 
inexhaustible store from which to replace it! It is also 

*■ Steevens decidedly rejects this play, although he had once supposed 
it to be genuine. The following observations by him are copied from 
the introductory preface to ** King John,*' in hb last edition of Shak* 
speare^s works : — ** There is extant another play of King John, pub- 
lished in 161 1. Shakspeare has preserved the greatest part of the conduct 
of it, as well as the number of the lines. What most inclines me to think 
it the work of some contemporary author, is the number of quotations 
from Horace, and other scraps of learning scattered over it. There is, 
likewise, a quantity of rhyming Latin and ballad metre, in a scene where 
the ' Bastard' is represented as plundering a monastery ; and some strokes 
of humour, which seem from their particular turn to have been evidently 
produced by another hand than that of Shakspeare. Of this play there 
is said to have been an edition in 1591, [printed] for Sammm CkMrke, but 
I have never seen it; and the copy in 1611, which is the oldest I could 
find, was printed < for John Helme,' whose name appears before no other 
of the plays of Shakspeare. I admitted this play, some years ago» as 
Sluikspeare's own, among the twenty which I published firom the old 
editions, but a more careful perusal of it, and a forther conviction of our 
poet*s custom of borrowing plots, sentiments, &c., dispose me to recede 
from that opinion."— Siezvxns. — Trans, 



worthy of notice^ that in the prison scene between Hubert 
and Arthur, the noble boy, in his attempts to soften the rugged 
heart of his stem tormentor, speaks most of God, and of the 
fearful retribution prepared by eternal justice for all who 
commit snch deeds of cruelty and guilt. In the later drama 
these motives, which grand and poetical as they are still seem 
perhaps a little commonplace, are no longer dwelt upon, but 
the exquisite pathos of the little prince's childish prayers 
and entreaties wakes every latent emotion of sympathy and 
compassion in the heart. 

I cannot, however, entirely agree with the translator, in 
considering the old King John so decidedly superior to the 
second version. Besides the passages already cited there are 
many others which establish the authenticity of the work 
beyond all doubt or question ; yet, in the details, there is un- 
deniably great roughness and want of polish ; particularly in 
that scene in which the bastard indulges in so much coarse 
invective and contemptuous satire of the monks and nuns. 
The whole of the later piece is written in a more profound 
and universal spirit ; while the motive of the first appears to 
be a certain narrow patriotism, and that characteristic abhor- 
rence of the papal power which distinguished the early 
English. The sense of the piece appears to be condensed 
into the concluding verse* : — 

" If England's peers and peasants remain united, 
Neither France, Spain, nor Pope can do us injury.'* 

Or, as in the modem play, — 

" Nought can maks us me, 
If England to herself wiU be but truer 

The period immediately succeeding the destruction of the 
Spanish Armada, is that assigned by the Grerman editor and 
translator to the first appearance of this drama. The pa- 
triotism and strong national feeling recognised in it, are 
indeed quite in accordance with the spirit of that time. This 
littleness of feeling is not found in the second play ; and 
besides the vicissitudes to which royalty is exposed, displayed 
in that fearful tragedy, the poet's grand object appears to 

* The last page of the old play of King John before quoted is -vrant- 
ing in the copy in the library of the British Museum. — TVom. 

I 2 


have been to exhibit the degree in which justice and mercj 
are usually seen to operate in political deliberations and deci- 
sions. It is a bitter satire on the confused instincts of the 
populace and ordinary politicians; founded on the deepest 
knowledge of mankind and of the human heart, and particu- 
larly directed against that unregulated hatred of the papal 
power, the mere assertion of which was sufficient to ensure 
to any politician the reputation of surpassing intelligence 
and discernment. The later King John remarkably illus- 
trates the progress of the poet's mind, not in his peculiar art 
alone, but also in his knowledge of the world and of human 

The Pinner of Wakefield* is one of the remaining Dramas 

* George a Greene, the Pindar of Wakefield, was first printed in 1599, 
and is to be found in Dodsley*s collection of old plays. The plot of this 
play (which is not divided into acts) is founded on an ancient ballad, and 
the scene lies at Wakefield in Yorkshire. This George a Greene was a man 
of great and ancient renown ; there is a peculiar history of his life written 
by one N. W., 8vo. 1706, and he is mentioned by Hudibras, part it. 
cant 2. line 305. 

( Theatrical Records. ) 

This play is, in Dodsley*s Catalogue, 1756, ascribed by Anthony Wood 
to John Hey wood, who died 1564. — See note by Dodsley subjoined. 


" I can give no account of the author of this piece. The story seems 
to have its foundation in history, or at least in the particular traditions 
of the town of Wakefield. And by the style it does not appear to have 
been wrote much before the time it was printed, which was 1599. It is 
said in the title-page to have been acted by the Earl of Sussex's servants, 
and is ascribed by Philips and Winstanley to John Hey wood, the author 
of the interludes ; but I believe any reader of judgment will easily per- 
-ceive they must be mistaken.** 

Pinner, or Pindar, probably means a sort of constable, or bailiff. — See 
Supplement to Jamieson's Etymological Dictionary. To pind, pynd, 
T. n. to distrain. " Ancut, a horse of Johne Charteris pyndit be the said 
John Maxwell semandis of his command, the said John Maxwell grantis 
that the said horse was ridden after he was p3mdit** 

Poinder of cattle ; keeper of the pound ; Huloet — Todd's Johnson. 

Mr. Malone, in his account of the rise and progress of the English 
stage, gives copies of some old registers of pla3rs performed between 1591 
and 1597, in which in the year 1593, on the 8th of January, << the Piner 
of Wakefield" is stated to have been acted " by the Earle of Sussex his 
men.*' — Malone's Prolegomena to Plays and Poems of William Shak- 
spcare, ed. 1821, vol. iii. p. 300. — 2Van«. 


translated in the " Altenglischen Theater." I have already 
noticed this piece in the treatise on Northern Poetic Art, as 
not generally attributed to Shakspeare, from the absence of 
any historical evidence of its origin and composition. Still 
it is by no means unworthy of the master's hand ; not merely 
from the jovial humour and vigorous delineation of character 
which distinguish it, but also from the clear, strong intellect 
perceptible throughout. On first reading it, many years 
since, I unhesitatingly pronounced it to be the work of 
Shakspeare, from this latter quality alone. This powerful 
internal evidence is ' also corroborated by the circumstance 
that it would be almost impossible to point out by name any 
author of that period capable of producing so skilful a drama. 
As more decisive proofs are wanting, I must, however, leave 
the question at present undecided. 

The same remarks may with justice be applied to the 
" Merry Devil of Edmonton," published in the second part 
of the *' Altenglischen Theater," which has recently appeared, 
but from internal probability, scarcely seems worthy of being 
attributed to Sh^speare. Yet I know not why it should 
seem incredible that among his numerous early productions 
and experiments, one or two should be found to border on 
the ordinary and commonplace. In the old ^King Lear," 
for example, he descends to the verge of mediocrity, prompted 
probably by a desire to approximate more closely to the type 
of his beloved stage-plays, and renounce that lofty grandeur 
which raised him so far above the ordinary standard of the 
boards. I quite agree in opinion with the translator, who 
nndoubtingly ascribes this work to Shakspeare, from certain 
peculiar habits and forms of expression there recognised, as 
well as other quaint terms of speech, which he never entireljr 
laid aside ; the most important among these doubtful pieces, 
which, though proved to be genuine, certainly belong to the 
earliest period of his youth, is the old drama of *' Loorine,"* 
the authenticity of which is vouched by historical and in- 
ternal probability. I fully concur with the Translator in 
his judgment of this majestic tragedy, and the poetical 
value to be assigned to it. He esteems it one of the earliest 

* ** Locrine," printed in 1595. It appears amongst the plays as- 
cribed to Shakspeare, in Malone's edition (1821), vol. ii. p. 682. ^- 

7 11 


of Shakspeare's works, written before he had visited Lon- 
don, or the theatre, under the influence of a strong patriotic 
feeling excited by the domestic dissensions which distracted 
England during the later years of the life of Mary Stuart, 
dividing that country into parties, and giving rise to fears of 
foreign invasion. Notwithstanding the many great beauties 
of this drama, it is decidedly unsuited to the stage. The 
poet's predilection for gigantic grandeur, and everything 
rare and w<mdrous, is here peculiarly apparent. Many of 
the speeches remind us of that .of the rude Fyrrhus in 
^^ Hamlet," which is unquestionably borrowed from some 
earlier play ; and it contains the plot, in embryo as it were, 
of the chief part of the later work of Shakspeare. 

Thus Tieck reasons, incidentally, in his Pre&ce to ^^Lo- 
crine," and I object only that he does not express himself 
with sufficient warmth or decision in regard to the poetical 
merit of this lofty tragic poem. Were I to attempt to illus- 
trate in few words the progress of Shakspeare's genius, I 
should enumerate, Locrine, Bomeo, the series of Historical 
Flays, and ^ King Lear," as marking the principal grada- 
tions of his splendid career. ^* Locrine " must certainly not 
be omitted in this series, and although being merely a sketch 
it is deficient in point of execution, in intrinsic grandeur of 
the conception it is inferior to none. One innate and never 
forsaken impulse of Shakspeare's genius is peculiarly ob- 
servable in ^'Locrine;" that hcultj of seizing and repre- 
senting the problem of life in its grandest proporticms, and 
bringing the strife and opposing elements of the world's 
career in all their actual vigour upon the tragic boards. 
Still the stem inflexible grandeur of the youthful poet's 
bold and lofty genius, in its first upsoaring, seems rather 
disposed to crush the then feeble stage beneath his powerful 
foot, than to call up for its anbeUishment any fleeting yet 
brilliant apparition. Tliis very circumstance makes the play 
of ** Locrine" one of the most important of the earlier pro- 
ductions of Shakspeare. It shows clearly at what an immea- 
suridi>le distance the poet stood apart from the arena for 
which he wrote, and the world which he depicted. It shows 
to what an abyss of degradation his giant mind must have 
abased itself, to what a fslsification of his own principles, 
and denial of his powers he must have descended, ere 


he suffered himself to ding exclnsirely to the stage, far 
superior, as, then existing in England, it may have been to 
the modem theatre. 

This contrast becomes very apparent if we compare with 
the tragic grandeur of ^ Locrine,** (not the old " King Lear," 
the authenticity of which is not universallj admitted, but) 
<« Perides," and the old " King John," both of which be- 
long iinquestionablj to our poet And yet, even in these, 
the compulsive effort is so far apparent, that we feel the 
poet's representation was not inspired by any impulse from 
within, but rather by an effort to depict in the most harsh 
and glaring colours that external world which was to him 
60 strange, and to point out the surprising errors therein 
existing in their true light, as they were discerned by his 
powerful and discriminating intellect Yet the true in- 
tention, in which the poet threw off his pictures of the 
world and of human life, is more distinctly understood by 
considering the wide difference between them and his lyric 
and idyllic poems. The former, severely drawn, as if by the 
power of the intellect alone, unenfeebled by softness or 
tenderness of feeling ; the latter presenting a clue to the 
inmost sentiments of the poet, which are in them revealed 
almost without any intermixture of external influence. These 
poems and sonnets are indeed well worthy of serious con- 
templation. Considering the almost universal tendency of 
his own efforts, it appeazB singular that Shakspeare should 
have thought this free style, in which he followed Spenser, 
worthy of such high consideration, although so completely 
unsuited for theatrical representation. He appears to con- 
sider it the loftiest, and indeed the only style of poetry well 
deserving that name, and treats the dnunatic branch in 
which he was himself so great a master, with almost unjust 
depreciation and contempt. Although Shakspeare in his 
dramas frequently adopted the early popular comedy, as well 
as old national songs and ballads, and notwithstanding the 
dedded preference he evinced in early youth for Italian 
novels and romances, and every branch of Southern litera- 
ture, he never appears to treat any themes with so much 
seriousness and enthusiasm as thoae selected from the 
heroic dironicles of his nation* The series of historical 
plays founded on the events recorded in those chronicles, 

T 4 


seem to form almost an epic poem, and as the poet him- 
self felt and acknowledged, far surpass the narrow limits of 
the stage. 

This and other considerations lead me to place Shak- 
speare, although unquestionably the first dramatic poet of 
lus nation, and, as such surpassed bj none, on a far loftier 
eminence, and, independently of the perfection of his dra- 
matic art, to recognise in him a far higher order of poetry, 
the source of which is purely and essentially northern and 

In the present time especially, when the love of poetry in 
our country is so shattered and broken up by petty prefer- 
ences and partialities, this poet may be made the instrument 
of uniting our divided parties. Those who have seized merely 
the outward form and garb of antiquity, instead of its rich 
abundance of fancy and imagery, — those, in short, whose 
errors tend more or less to antique stiffness and formality, 
unless all idea of pleasure derived from the rhythmical flow 
of words, and the love of poetry itself, be actually crushed 
and trodden out in their hearts, will attach themselves 
to Shakspeare, for his genius is most in harmony with the 
antique preferences of modem poets. The spirit which, next 
to the antique, seems most predominant among the writers of 
our day, is that which holds ignorance and neglect of study for 
the most decisive proofs of genius. The believers in this 
doctrine are ever bent on imitating, or rather counterfeiting 
the very qualities in which they are most deficient, and 
which they have least power to attain, and are perpetually 
mistaking childishness for simplicity, confounding the popu- 
lar with the vulgar, and instead of the golden lyre of Apollo 
or the heroic harp of northern bards, each, familiar only 
with the bagpipe of St. Monday, makes its unpoetical drone 
resound through all his works. 

Shakspeare, the grand, deep-souled master of all true 
poetical beauty, may, by the weight and irresistible power 
of his genius, minister most effectually to the setting aside of 
these insignificant trifies, produced by the fashionable tem- 
perament of the day. 

Yet there are those amongst us who embrace a better and 
nobler aim, rejecting the vulgar no less unconditionally than 
the mere antique. Nor do they err in holding romance to 



be the vital element of poetry, and the most appropria 
sphere for the development of modem German art. Still, 
though it is an incontrovertible principle that poetry, if 
true to itself, will ever be a creation of fancy and imagin- 
ation, the same features, too frequently and exclusively 
repeated, will produce feeble and degenerate works, unless 
combined with that tragic and heroic grandeur, that deep 
solemnity engendered by constant meditation on life and the 
human destiny, which in Shakspeare ever speak so vividly 
and intelligibly. Shakspeare's writings are romance through- 
out. He avoids with evident aversion that affectation of 
classical learning, to which so many poets of his time were 
addicted ; and also rejects that merely modern poetry, which 
is the slave of fashion and of circumstances, and usually be- 
comes insipid when it should be sweet, — turns pathos into 
fretfulness, and in the vain pursuit of nature and simplicity, 
degenerates into unmeaning commonplace. Shakspeare, the 
prince of poets, was romantic in the selection and treatment 
of his subjects ; and notwithstanding the degeneracy of which 
we complain, examples of a similar kind are found in abun- 
dance among the stage-writing poets of his day ; but it is 
chiefly by his superexcellent vigour and bold freedom that 
his writings are distinguished from the need-and-help dramas 
(Noth-und-hiilfs Dramen)* of our own stage. Shakspeare 
was truly romantic, but in the right spirit ; his fancy was 
not merely glowing and sportive, but profoundly grand and, 
in the truest signification of the term, romantic. 

The attempt to adapt foreign forms to any national stage 
will usually prove quite fruitless, for the theatre of any 
country must be subjected to its own appropriate laws 
and government; and these we are more likely to find, 
adapted in just proportion to the true object and require- 
ments of our Grerman stage, in the lyric poems of Shakspeare 
than in his historical dramas. Singular as such an assertion 

* ** Noth-und-hiilfs Dramen." Hus term is scarcely susceptible of 
translation : it applies, probably, to dramas of a very inferior though po- 
pular character, in which, as in some commonplace novels, the personages 
appear to be thrown into situations of forced distress and necessity, 
merely that they nuiy be assisted and saved by a combination of other 
circumstances equally forced and unnatural, and palpably contrived for 
the occasion.— IVoiif. 


', Calderon usimilateA more closely to our stage 
ixperience uid the loftf idetl of druuttic art thut 
I poet. Apart, howerer, from that peculiar con- 
tnd the faise imitative experiiiients arising from 
, in BOOOTdanoe with the prindples before laid 
ounce Shakspeare to be the true and only founda' 
ch any better feeling for the art in Gumany is 
raised. A. high senee and feeling tot poetry is 
to be muTeraally developed by a de^ study and 
ihension of that poet'fl genius, and thus all the 
[ties, and the devious courses pursued in our 
rould gradually disappear, and ere long be en- 
It would scarcely now be possible to counsel a 
he earlier French taste, the so called poetic art 
an, B&tteor, or (aodschied, yet in the general 
trailing in regard to taste and beauty, it is not 
Hirprisiog that some voices plead even for a re- 
: neglected path. Kot, however, to such a r«ro- 
ment does oar mission tend ; rather, enriched by 
a and the garooed wisdom and e^ierience ot 
It us look steadily fwward, evw advancing on 

MaJittn German $ainttnss(# 


IN THE TEAR 1819. 

The exbibitioii of modem Grerman paintiDgs in the palace 
Caffarelli, at Borne, which was fitted up and arranged for 
that purpose, hj permission of the consul of the l^ussian 
embassy, formed one of the most remarkable features con- 
nected with the presence of the imperial court in that citj, 
once the capital of the world, and so lopg the focus of the 
arts and the point of union for all amateurs. 

The public journals gave a full account of the visit with 
which his Imperial Highness honoured the exhibition, but 
as jet no detailed examination of its merits, as an assemblage 
of works of art, has appeared ; at least no work, fully de- 
serving such a title, or in any degree accomplishing that 
design. Yet the German exhibition seems well entitled to 
careful investigation, both as a remarkable feature of the 
times, and in reference to the present condition of the arts ; 
besides which, it possesses great intrinsic value, from the 
richness and variety of the compositions exhibited, far ex- 
ceeding all that have been produced by any other modem 
and rising school for a long period of time. It is most gra- 
tifying and delightful to witness the universal and well- 
directed aspirations of so much varied talent, as it must 
be dear to us all, that excellence, instead of springing 
op spontaneously like the grass of the field, cannot be 

2^^y MODERN GEBMAN PAI19TIN6S. [1819. 

'attained without much careful study and cultivation. If, 
among the numerous indifferent, or even bad pictures, 
which usually preponderate in an exhibition like the present, 
we find many good^ and a few of distinguished merit, we 
may reasonably anticipate, from the united efforts of so much 
natural and varied talent, a successful and happy reaction in 
the art generally. 

The exhibition was, on the whole, favonrablv received by 
the public, both in regard to individual performances and 
the rising talent here, for the first time, displayed in a higher 
order of conceptions, embracing a wider circle of ideas. 
Great and well-deserved praise was bestowed on the two 
Schadows, Philip Yeit, Wach, and others; for the public, 
when left to form an unbiassed judgment, usually decide both 
judiciously and kindly. Opinions were divided on some 
other points, and many dissentient voices were even raised 
to depreciate the exhibition. It was considered to be the 
general defect of the modem German school, and urged 
against it as a subject of reproach, that it digressed into the 
old German manner ; and consequently, although great 
commendations were awarded to individual merit, which the 
greater and better part of the public failed not to discern 
and acknowledge, it was generally asserted that the artists 
of that school wei^ entering upon an irregular and false 

I design in this treatise to inquire into the cause and 
origin of this general censure, and to ascertain in how far 
it may be applicable either to the entire school, or to parti- 
cular individuals and their productions ; but as numerous 
points require to be noticed, before forming a judgment in 
either case, I shall first remind my readers of such consider- 
ations as appear to me of most essential importance. 

Before, however, I inquire into the correct or incorrect 
application of this veiy vague censure, I must attempt to 
analyse the idea and define it correctly, so that, having sue* 
ceeded in attaching a precise meaning to the term, we may 
the better understand in what sense it is usually received and 

If the phrase were intended to convey the idea of incorrect 
design, common or exaggerated expression, cold, unnatural 
colouring, or any other positive fault in painting, it would 


be easy to determine whether such an objection were well** 
found^ or not : easy at least to all who, with a naturally 
correct eye> have a cultivated taste, and some knowledge 
of the real excellencies of the art. If, on the contrary, 
the reproach of mannerism only be intended, our judgment 
becomes confused, as this latter term cannot so easily be 
defined, and wanting requisite precision and distinctness, is 
susceptible of the most various acceptations and interpreta- 
tions. But if, as applied in judgment or censure to works of 
art, the term Early Cierman refers only to a certain style 
once historically existing ; the misconceptions which easily 
attach themselves to so conventional a form of speech become 
interminable, and the judgment must be proportionately be- 
wildered and perplexed. It is, therefore, necessary strictly 
to examine the principles on which this term is founded, 
that the confusion of our ideas may be cleared up, and the 
opinion expressed by it distinctly imderstood. 

Neither painting, nor any other high science or art, can 
break loose entirely from the chain of tradition, nor, denying 
or rejecting every principle of past times, enter at once on a 
new and untrodden path. Each artist should rather prefer 
to link his genius with an earlier period, whether he aim at 
opening for himself a new path, the pursuit of which may 
lead to unexampled excellence, or whether it be his desire to 
raise the bewildered taste of the degenerate art to its original 
grandeur and sublimity; no such object has ever been accom- 
plished without the study, and, perhaps, even the adaptation 
of an earlier style. It frequently happens that when the ordi- 
nary manner of painting seems quite exhausted, and all minds 
are weary of the same monotonous path, a new and sudden 
impulse throws the art into a foreign channel, or prompts its 
return to such old themes and treatment as appear novel, even 
from their antiquity. This was the case in the time of the 
Emperor Hadrian, who wished to revive the ancient Egyptian 
style in architecture.* A religious object, however, may 

* Adrian endeaTOured to reanimate paganism, and to make it once 
more the basis of the empire and of public life : for this purpose he had 
recourse to the more profound and austere theology of Egypt, and that 
new Egyptian style, which characterises the later monuments of Roman 
art, was connected with the emperor's predilection for the old religion of 
Egypt.^^. W:vcn Sehkgfft FhUotajAy ifBittory, Standard Ubraiy, p.39S. 


haye prompted this attempt rather than the requirements of 
the art Sinee this fact can merely be noticed here as an 
example, I shall leaye the closer inrestigation of the subject 
for a raore appropriate occasion, together with the question 
whether at snch a period the tme interest of the art is most 
essentiallj promoted by a sodden spring onwards, or by a 
bold and daring return to its own original form. It is 
enough to obserre, that every period in its last manifestation 
of power has produced much worthy of stody, and of at least 
comparative excellence ; as in that brief revival, to which I 
have already alladed, when heathen art blazed forth anew 
before its final and irretrievable extinction. Betuming to 
the art of painting in our modem Christian time, it has long 
since been decided^ by those who are most conversant with 
its productions, and indeed universally acknowledged, that it 
reached the summit of perfection about the end of the fif- 
teenth, or during the first part of the sixteenth, century, with 
the great masters of that period, Raphael, Leonardo, Michel- 
angelo, Titian, and Correggio^ and although subsequently the 
School of the Carracci, Guido, Domenichino^ and a few of the 
better Florentines, enjoyed well-merited fame, the art never 
again reached the height it had attained under the first great 
masters. This, at least, is no longer disputed ; and when, 
as each school successively expired, and the time of its 
dominion passed away, the necessity of a grand revival forced 
itself upon the genius of the eighteenth centary, and prompted 
an effort, which was based upon a right principle, although 
the application of it was altogether erroneous, Mengs, who 
among us undertook the work of restoration, believed that to 
form a perfect composition it was necessary to combine Titian's 
life-like carnations, the magical chiaroscuro of Correggio, 
with the beautiful forms and rich conceptions of Raphael; that 
the result of such a combination would be perfect in itself, 
and the carrying out of the theory give new life to declining 
art. Yet a new life can spring only from the depths of a 
new love, and it is vain to imagine that lofty art, like a 
draught of medicine, may be procured by the mingling of 
various difierent ingredients. Hence the compositions of 
Mengs appear cold and insipid, and although in many points 
superior to his time, his great and praiseworthy exertions 
never led to the formation of any school peculiarly his own. 

1819.] THE FRENCH SCHOOL. 287 

Others afterwards modified his recipe for the restoration of 
art, or even went to the extreme of believing that a single 
artist ought to unite, with his imitation of Bi4>hael9 both the 
antique school and nature, or, rather, drawing firom models ; 
and in this respect, a similar observation will apply to the 
present struggle of modem art Copying from the pagan 
antique leads invariably to a neglect of the immutable dis* 
tinction between the sister-arts of painting and sculpture ; and 
the theory just noticed would ^isily produce such errors, 
although this was not precisely the case with Mengs, who 
genendly confined himself within the true limits of painting. 
The influence of Winkelmann, whose enthusiasm for the 
antique created in that respect a new epoch, gave rise to 
many erroneous applications, leading the artist yet more 
widely astray from the true object of his art 

The aberrations of the French school were most remark- 
able, and its errors, though undoubtedly derived from the 
some source, took a completely difierent direction* The 
monuments of the antique, although partially known by a 
few individual painters who had studied in Borne, stood not 
here in their native power and majesty before the eyes and 
senses of the people : yet so much the more did they turn 
in rising astonishment to marvel at that republican antiquity 
which history taught them to know and venerate. The 
tragic heroes of Greece and Rome, produced in theatrical 
exaggeration upon the stage, became the reigning idols of 
the day, and consequently art itself rushed into the arms of 
republican antiquity, showing an especial preference for 
tragic and exaggerated dramatic effect In truth a mighty 
leap to attempt, more wondrous than that Egyptian influence 
on sculpture in the time of Hadrian, and at least further re- 
moved from everything by which, in our time, art as art, and 
men as men, are measured ! It would indeed require that all 
modem Europe should return to the heathenism of former 
days, a return which the French, at the time of the flrst 
Bevolution, certainly both hoped and attempted to effect. 
Such are still the characteristics of the French school ; a 
vigorous and remarkable, yet false tendency, the peculiar- 
ities of which are especially seen in the productions of 
David, the greatest master of that school. The same prin- 
ciples have till now reigned throughout Europe, which is 


the less surprising as they in many respects successfully 
develope the genius of our time, so far removed from that 
meditative calm which alone gives birth to true ideas of 
beauty. The French manner has obtained great influence 
in Italy, and the excellent paintings of Camuccini, those at 
least which are drawn from history or mythology, belong 
decidedly to their mode of conception and treatment, though 
a noble feeling for art often breaks through the mannered 
surface of the French schools. Some more recent works 
of this famous painter, church pictures especially, are more 
simple and more consonant with the severe grandeur of 

The French pictures exhibited this year at Rome afford 
an opportunity of estimating the practical operation of their 
principles, exclusively inculcated, on the younger genera- 
tion. One in particular, the most remarkable, represents 
" Un Jeune Grec renvera^," as it is styled in the catalogue, 
and chiefly excites a feeling of pity for the poor model, who 
in that deadly position, head downwards, must have evi- 
dently given his whole energies of soul and body to perform- 
ing the part of the naked hero. The penetration of the 
artist is particularly exhibited in the position of the sword, 
which is placed diagonally across the body, so as to super- 
sede the fig-leaf, usually employed. Such an excess of 
mannerism would scarcely be conceivable in any school 
except the French. 

It is not, however, impossible to name a few happy ex* 
ceptions and better impulses, though, where false taste so 
universally prevails, they must necessarily be but isolated 
examples, until the barriers of slavery are broken, and the 
erroneous ideas existing thrown aside. In France, where 
each unnatural extreme soon produces its reverse, another 
manner has already arisen, half-antique, half revolution- 
bom, tragi-theatrical style, employed in delineating histo- 
rical themes of lesser importance, and more attractive tender- 
ness than the loftier class. These pictures are called '' du 
genre," and the productions of Granet at Rome in this style 
are highly and deservedly esteemed. 

Portrait-painting also, which is considered a distinct pro- 
fession, is, in its narrow circle, less exposed to the erroneous 
influences of popular taste, and often produces artists of 

1819.] BN6LI8H ENORA.YEB8. 289 

most happ7 talent, who carry that branch of art to its highest 
perfection; and even if guided by instinct alone, without 
reference to higher impulses, produce such life-like resem- 
blances and brilliant effl^cts as throw the age into astonish- 
ment, and rival even Lawrence, the famous, noble portrait- 
painter of (xreat Britain. But these dazzling meteors too 
soon depart from among us, and have littie perceptible in- 
fluence on the general progress of the art. 

Besides the French school,^ there is one other influence 
almost universaUy prevailing, that of the English copper- 
plate engravings. We can scarcely feel surprised at the 
duly increasing taste for these works, since their style is 
so completely in unison witii the spirit of the age, springing 
from its sentimental style of feeling and the quick fervent 
impulses of the heart. It will not, therefore, be necessary 
to offer any further observations on the character of these 
engravings, because the impulse which produced them is 
felt at once to be the ruling element of taste, not in England 
only, nor yet merely in engravings, but discoverable in sculp- 
ture, churches, pictures, monuments, — in everything, in short, 
where the theme is susceptible of sentimental expression and 

The preceding observations give a true picture of the taste 
hitherto predominating in the art, or, might I not almost 
say, have even now too much influence ? Under these cir- 
cumstances, between the domination of the French school 
on the one hand, and of the English engravings on the other; 
between barren theories, founded on the doctrines of Mengs, 
or the opinions of Winkelmann, so ill understood, and which, 
well intended, but solitary, individual efforts have vainly 
striven to break through, a completely new impulse has 
stirred in Germany, and during the last ten years its pro- 
gress and development have become more and more con- 
spicuous. This impulse, if lovingly fostered and wrought 
into a susceptible feeling for all tiliat is most lofty and ap- 
propriate in art ; if its deficiencies are supplied by regular 
cultivation upon certain fixed principles ; if the tendency to 
error and exaggeration be restrained within due bounds by 
active and critical judgment ; if what is as yet incomplete be 
finished with grandeur proportionate to the loftiness of the 
conception, we may yet see the lovely path of beauty laid 


HODSKT fiCBKAir PAIHTlHaS. [1819. 

nd these risiiig efinrts become the nnelens of a ner 
iriahin; s«hooL Gemuui artiits long noee deddedly 
1 the predominant French Muinar, and inawiested 
snt sppreoudtin of the noble painters of early times. 
I pit^MMTtiwi cboae the iainiit«ble Raphael for their 
while some few selected Leoiaado for their gnide, 
; attracted by the serere gruideur of Michelangelo. 
]es not recall to mind Bnri, " fonaed," to use the 
)f Goethe, " by deep study," and Piofeeaor Hartmano, 
iden, so moch distingoished for excellence, both as 
and scholar? The diatinction betweea sculpture, « 
iqne, and painting, is also more deatiy defined, ami 
s more oniversaU}' n^^aided. ISie flrstj howerer, 
stir chuiDS the highest pkce in ouc retroi^ect of the 
ntionof 81% — he who commenced the Btrug^e, — Utcs 
B. Sehiek of Stuttgart, striTing tbrocgfaout his whole 
h oppression and depreciation, died ere hii lofty talent, 
and acknowledged too late, brought him the meed 
i to which he was so justly entitled. First formed 
id's school, he ever retMned the imnner and vigorona 
he had imbibed from that master, certunly the 
his peculiar style ; and although rising uusapported 
new career his genias marked out for itself, he dis- 
I, after long years of apprenticeahip, that as guides to 
on, other and higher models were needed, models 
among his contempomries and the school in which 

been formed, might be sought in vain ; those he de- 
) study existed only in the earlier maiters, whose 
by no Ticissitudes of time destroyed or superseded, 
^te the wonder and command the admirati<m of all 
98. The portraits of the children of Von Hnmbolidt, 
excited so much attentitm at Rome, will bear com- 

eren with those of Leonardo or Titian, and could 
deemed unworthy a pnpil either of Raphael or Leo- 

His talent is yet more strikingly apparent in the 
<■ and the Shepherds," a Urge picture now in the 
«laee at Stuttgart, and which formerly adorned the 
T of the deceased queen. The rich working of this 
ition, crowded with figures moat beautifully arranged, 
IT brilliancy, and soft grace of the colouring, and the 

1819.] WOBKS or COHinELn78 AND OYXSBSCK. 291 

freshness and yigoar of the whole, make it worthy the best 
periods of the older masters. 

Comelitis and Orerbeek are uniyersalljr acknowledged to 
stand fint amoi^ the liying German painters of tins era. 
Both are gifted with rioh creative ^sncj: the former dii^lays 
an intense feeling for beauty in figure and expression, with 
much graee of attitude and arrangements ; the latter has an 
inexhaustible inventive faculty, and great vigour of expres-^ 
sion. Overbeck is well-known in Germany by many most 
expressive works, especially the great cartoon at Frank- 
fort, repres^iting 'Joseph sold to the Merchants." His 
vocation in art is already sufficiently apparent, and were 
it not so, the grand cartoon of *^ Jerusalem Delivered," in 
the present Exhibition, would at once decide it. What 
Cornelius may be capable of aocomi^ishing in a higher 
and grander scale than he has hitherto attempted, the 
fresco paintings in the Glyptotheka built at Munich by the 
Crown Prince of Bavaria, and the execution of which is 
entrusted to Cornelius, will afford him ample opportunity of 
proving. Our anticipations, if formed from his first cartoon, 
which is finished in a most masterly manner, will be highly 
raised : it represents the entire mythic cycle of Night, with 
her numerous allegorical retinue, treated in the ingenioua 
and comprehensive style of the ancients, equally rich and 
expressive. The dramatic energy of some of this artistes 
earlier producticms appears to verge upon mannerism, but in 
this last excellent work we remark with pleasure a noble 
simplicity and greater fidelity to nature. Both painters have 
iZ LaJpUy Lifted by^any yoonger ^Ists of very 
various talents and difierent habits of thought, all umting in 
earnest emulative efforts to restore the art to its original 

The general struggle of the German artists in Borne daily 
excites more and more attention, and its {nrogress is watched 
with cordial sympathy by the illustrious men of many other 
countries. I have to mention with unfeigned pleasure, as 
chief among those who honour and value German genius, 
Canova, the pride of Italy, the sculptor of our time whose 
genius is reverencetl and acknowledged by all Eurc^. When 
on his tour through Germany, he visited the unique Boisser^e 
Collection, though himself working in quite a different 

u 3 


sphere, he knew how to appreciate it, and at thU moment 
not only watches with interest the efforts of our young 
German artists in general, but also affords to individual 
talent the kindest sympathy and protection. Many young 
Gr^mans, Philip Yeit, Eggers, and others owe to his recom- 
mendation their admission to the fresco works in the Vatican. 
The taste for fresco painting, which is so warmly cultivated 
among the German artists in Rome, forms a grand step in 
the advance of art, and the fame of having first encouraged 
it belongs to the Ftussian consul-general Bartholdy. In 
these compositions a certain grandeur of conception, com- 
bined with freedom and certainty of execution, are indis- 
pensable, and they consequently offer a noble field for rising 

From the preceding observations it will not be difficult to 
form a correct judgment of the present state of German art, 
as displayed in the last exhibition at Rome, and to estimate 
it according to its real merits. 

I will say but a few words more in reference to its general 
principles. Imitation, in the literal meaning of the term, is 
forbidden to an artist, more especiaUy in the technicalities of 
his art. He must learn the first elementary principles on 
which it is based — design, correct, elaborate, poweHul and 
confident design; and happy should the young aspirant es- 
teem himself if he succeed in finding an able master, capa- 
ble of displaying to him the whole structure of the human 
frame, internal and external, by the study of anatomy and 
drawing from models, leaving him to acquire a more perfect 
knowledge of its most vigorous and powerful development 
by the study of the antique. The science of perspective 
belongs also to the recognised principles of art, and must be 
acquired from instruction ; but colouring — the magic truth 
and beauty of colouring — no master can impart, unless the 
scholar be endowed by nature with a gifted eye and sense. 
Yet much preparatory technical knowledge, co-operating 
with natural endowments, and thus contributing to produce 
perfection, can and must be acquired. Natural talents thus 
cultivated, will start with all the elementary parts necessary 
for the elevation of the art, and the student should himseLf 
select some ideal model of excellence, loftier than even his 
master could offer him. He should remember that he has in 


view two very different objects, both of which must be kept 
studiously distinct ; the master's instruction, for whatever is 
necessary to be learned ; the type or model for what cannot 
be taught but must nevertheless be acquired. It will be 
clearly seen from the preceding observations that no indivi- 
dual painter can safely break loose from the organised system 
of art, nor freeing himself from laws already imposed and 
still existing, attempt to create from his own unassisted 
genius, or as it is said *^ from Nature." What is the usual 
result of thus spuming all tradition or cultivation ? The 
artificial mannered treatment of these would-be-original 
creators and nature-artists, and the rank assigned to their 
productions sufficiently prove the fallacy of ^eir theory. 
Whence, then, should the youthful artist draw ideas of 
grandeur in form and arrangement, and still more the general 
conception and treatment of his subject ? How infuse into his 
conception a congenial yet lofty spirit, except from the noble 
creations of earlier masters, and the study of that brief but 
glorious period, in which the art of paintine had avowedly 
reached its highest point of perfection ? Should we send 
him back to copy from the Fi^ench school, or bid him adopt 
the style of the English engravings? If he think rightly 
himself, he will never be led away by examples so erroneous, 
but hx. his idea immutably on Raphael and his contempon^ 
ries, and other great masters of the latter half of the 
fifteenth, and the commencement of the sixteenth century, 
carr3ring their creations in his heart as the eternal guides of 
his efforts. It is certain that besides those grand masters 
whose fame and ge:-.ius are incontrovertible, none deserve 
to be more highly esteemed than their immediate predeces- 
sors and ancient masters, with whom they are in fact far 
more closely connected than with their own scholars or 
later imitators. Shall we profess to honour Raphael, and 
prize him lightly from whom Raphael first leamt the essen- 
tials of the art? There are not only many single figures, 
but groups and entire compositions, by Perugino^ Fiesole, 
and even Giotto, which may be viewed with pleasure and 
astonishment, though we turn to them from the contempla- 
tion of Raphael himself, at the same time that they are truly 
in his manner, if we consider that manner the type of all 
that is spiritually beautiful and harmonious. How seldom 

D s 


do we meet with 6uch oofoceptioiis tmong tlie mere effect 
painters of tlie later Italian sdioels ! For no sooner bad the 
summit been gained than the first steps of decline were 
evident in spirit and ezeotttion. Still any student who 
attempts to teke as models of design, perspective, the struc- 
tore of the boman frame, or whatever belongs to the scientific 
elements of painting, those first stars of dawning light in 
western art, and servilely imitates or rather counterfeits 
their finished productions, must be abandoned to the conse- 
quences of his own folly. That artist who neither possesses 
natural talent, nor has reoeived technical instruction, wiU 
hardly indeed derive much benefit from any example that 
may be set before him ; and it signifies little whetiier he 
attempt to combine his own manner with that of the fifteenth 
century, or confine himself to the 19th alone. Rut in a 
serious criticism on the subject of art, our illustrations must 
be drawn only from those whose natural talent has been 
sedulously cultivated. This is tbe case generally with the 
artists whose works are here exhibited. The others it were 
best to pass over in silence. 

If we are to estimate the present condition of the art and 
Its progress by the productions of these better masters alone, 
our previous remarks will have led us to the point whence 
we may safely draw the following inference. First, that if a 
model be well and judiciously chosen, the true path should 
lie not back upon itself, but progressively onwards to & new 
perfection of art, reproduced from the bosom of antiquity, 
yet nevertheless fresh, living, and Mooming; a new art meet, 
for the new time. ^ 

Secondly, that the efforts of modem G<erman artists are by 
no means directed into a wrong channel, nor based upon erro- 
neous principles, but are rather steadily advancing in the 
right path, though many imperfections and defects naturally 
cling to the first dawn of talent ; and some individuals, osten- 
sibly belonging to that school, and desiring to be numbered 
among its members, actually deviate, in many instances, 
from its principles. It is the misfortune of all fingt efforts, 
however well-intentioned, that many uspirants join uiem on- 
invited, and striving to supply, by exaggeration, their own 
conscious deficiency of talent and energy, turn everything 
alike to mannerism, and even afford just opportunity of cen- , 


rare to the opponents of real excoUence ; a ceneure in which 
all are indiscriminatelj involved, the moat ezceUeBt and re- 
markable oompoaitioiiB being classed in the same category 
witii those which are at best indifferent* if n^ utter failures. 

It cannot now be difficult to reduce to its proper value the 
charge of ** Grerman mannensm " brought against modem Grer- 
man masters : I adopt the term in order to be the more easily 
understood. If an artist be incapable of uniting the fipirit 
of his types, and their mode of treatment^ with his own per- 
sonal talent) but on the contrary confines himself to copying 
trivial accidents or positive defects — counterfeiting instead 
of imitating — he is decidedly in error, and such a practice, 
like the rude imitation of nature, will lead, though by a totally 
different route, to the same abyss of degeneracy. It is ever 
thus with imitation in the arts, resembling, if I may be allowed 
the comparison, the opecafeion of sin in the moral being ; both 
lead in innumerable £ftlse direoti<ms, and as there is in the 
moral world but one virtue, so in the arts there is but one 
true path. Perfection consists in the union of the idea and 
the vitality ; everything that breaks this union, eveiy defi- 
ciency on the one aide or die other is a fault, and, if uirther 
develqded or adopted as a principle will lead to mannerism. 
The idea, if suffered to predominate, produces works that 
are cold and inanimate, or, at least in some measure, deserve 
the reproach of hardness. The attempt, on the other hand, 
merely to copy life and nature, may in eases produce strong 
effects, as many of the Natnralisti have done, but, with the 
loss of ideality is banished all deep meaning, and even that 
inrtemal character whidi forms a most essential condition of 
the art 

To return to our Otenma eadii1»tion: the reproadi of 
antique maaserism is fitly applied tp the ahovc'^nentioned 
class alone, and certainly 1^ exaggeration of some few 
among diem aaems entirely to merit it This dass of 
painters may be found everywhere, and their faults are not 
to be referred to the models they follow; for whether copy- 
ing Leonardo and Durer, Gruido and Guercino, Mengs and 
F^ger, or who you will, they seise and imitate their worst 
points ; become either insipid and stiff, or exaggerated and 
ovenhiiwn, and in every ease alike XBaDiMred and unnaturaL 

Jn an exhibition we invariably find many indifferent per- 

V 4 

296 • MODERN 6EB1UN PAHmNGS. [1819. 

formances, and even utter failures mixed up with more ex- 
cellent and admirable works, but our judgment should be 
formed from the best alone, and if there be no deficiency of 
these, it augurs well for the progress and advancement of 
the art. The works of sixty-three artists are here collected, 
of whom by far the greater number are but entering on their 
career. It has been already said that the rising talent dis« 
played by a few of these, received commendation, and the 
public, Uttle heeding party disputes, or the too commonly 
repeated reproach of antique imitation, dispensed full justice 
to each individual of merit ; nay, awarded them the most 
distinguished approbation. The two Schadows, Philip Yeit, 
Wach, and others, were not only favourably noticed by the 
public in general, but received from the most enlightened 
and illustrious spectators of this exhibition, such distinct and 
unqualified praise, as must have equalled every desire them- 
selves or their friends could have formed; on this point, 
therefore, little more is left for me than gratdfully to acknow- 
ledge the sound judgment of the public to which little or 
nothing of emendation can be added on my part. Neither is 
there any reason to apprehend that these and other noble 
painters will rest satisfied with the approbation awarded to 
the promising works they have hitherto produced, and thus 
be led to neglect or forget the incomparably better and 
higher efforts which we are justly entitled to expect from 
them. But should there be any whose individual merit 
received less admiration and distinction than was its due, 1^ 
the artist attribute this omission merely to accidental cir- 
cumstances. Who could fail to admire the rich originality 
of Eberhard's remarkable sketches ? Yet such designs re- 
quire to be contemplated at leisure in the cabinet, and catch 
the eye less on the walls of an exhibition-room than large 
and highly finished oil-paintings ; it is, besides, often difficvJt 
to find a convenient position for smaller pieces. The grandest 
and most admired works of some other painters were not 
exhibited ; the ** Adoration of the Shephca^," by Johannes 
Weit, which has attracted much admiration from the deep 
fervent piety of the expression, and the truth and vivifying 
warmth of the execution, and the beautiful cartoon before- 
mentioned, by Cornelius, were absent Two single heads by 
Eggers, less beautifully finished than those of the Madonna 

1819.] F0PC7LAB EBBOB8 IK ABT. 297 

and the Angel St. llkGchael, but of noble form- and graceful 
colouring, worthy the best times of Italian art, were little 
noticed among so many larger and grander compositions. 

The reproach of antiquity^ if supposed to imply man- 
nerism, and therefore error, cannot be applied to the German 
artists in Rome ; yet we must observe that this mannerism 
is not necessarily an accompaniment of the antique, and 
when thoroughly investigated the fault will be found to have 
no connexion with it, but rather to arise in a totally different 
quarter : for example, in a Holy Family, by Wilhelm Schadow, 
tiie head of the mother is full of soul and expression, beauti- 
ful, and most exquisitely finished ; but the St. Joseph in the 
same picture is too diminutive, in fact, a complete failure. 
StiU there is nothing peculiarly old German in the figure, 
nor could any of RaphaeFs heads be pointed out as the 
prototype of the majestic head of the Madonna. 

When once a general opinion has been brought into a sort 
of convenient formula, it is repeated and echoed by persons 
who have no clear idea of its meaning, and frequently adopt 
it in circumstances with which it has not the slightest con- 
nexion ; thus it is with the phrase ^' old German manner,** 
in art, which is continually applied to compositions that lie 
a hundred miles at least out of its province. Were it my 
intention to enter into particulars, I could give numerous 
instances of a most extraordinary confusion of ideas on this 
particular point. The case is precisely the same as it has 
been in literature for many years past. Any new poetical 
work is supposed to have been sufficiently criticised, and is 
dismissed without further question when once branded with 
the fearful reproach of Romantic, whether it be from the pen 
of SchiUer, Tieck, Fouqu^ or even in a totally different 
genre. Others, again, class every thing in philosophy or 
science which excites their displeasure, or surpasses their 
comprehension, under the general head of myiticdlj a term 
which is merely employed to indicate something objectionable, 
but the meaning of which they as little understand or could 
explain as the subject or opinion to which they applied it. 
Such set phrases are in fact mere delusive forms of speech, 
misleading the judgment 

The introduction, even in modem paintings, of a certain 
well-dissembled antiquity, must, in a few particular themes^ 

296 XOBBBN GSBXAN PAnmNOS. [1819. 

be defended as appropriate, and can never be thought liable 
to iinqi]alifi,ed oensure ; it is only when faulty and auumered 
that it deserves to be condemned. BtiU I cannot explain 
how this reproach <»iginated, nor in what rei^ect it is appli- 
cable to the new Gverman school, now appearing. Any one 
who has been in the habit of seeing compositions of the old 
masters will easily diseover in most of the modem Gierman 
paintings that the artist has contemplated sone individual 
master of the old Italians with pecuHar and aifiEectionate 
reverence, even if he have not expressly chosen any for h» 
model; sometimes, but more rarely, we find instances of 
afiUiity with the old German school, and Diirer in particular. 
Probably the costume of that period, adc^ted by a few young 
Grerman artists, may have f uniished grounds ibr this most 
unreasonable censure, and contributed to its general dif^ion : 
the idea of the dress thus entirely superseding that of the 

If the phrase Old German ii taken as synonymons with 
stiff, or luurd, I must be allowed to {ffotest against so arbi- 
trary a synonism. The idea is probably drawn more firaon 
books and early prejudice than from personal investigation. 
]^ for mv part, have seen many old German pictures in the 
Boisseree Collection and elsewhere, beautiful and full ef life, 
yet without the slightest sacrifice of grace or expression. It 
would be easy, on the other hand, to point out a number of 
pictures by the later mannerists, or the old French school, 
which are throughout cold and insipid, hard and soulless, or, 
to take an example nearer home, we may name many of our 
own pictures, originating in the false or Pagan antique, whioh, 
although framed strictly according to rule, usually oome into 
the world lifeless &om their birth. 

Why should we Germans so much undervalue our own old 
national art, treating it with a contempt which is as unmerited 
as it ought to be painful to ourselves ? Baphael knew how to 
appreciate the genius of Diirer, and long before Dtbrer's time 
there existed many other noble painters, who in some of their 
compositions surpassed even him in grace and sweetn^s. The 
Italians value old Grerman art, and even the French have 
thought it worthy of their attention ; while Germany alone 
denies that her early masters, in the cyde of excellence in 
paintingy rank next to those of Italy. If, indeed, tho art 


among us failed to reach tte same point of perfection as with 
the Italians^ the causes which diecked its progress mtsy easily 
be discovered ; long ere it had reached the snmmit its career 
was interrupted bj religious dissensionB, and the Burgher 
wars of the 16th contmy at length oompletelj put a stop to 
it. Still it would be difficult to name any among the pre- 
decessors of Raphael who contributed so largely to the ad- 
Tanoement of the art in all its branches as [Hubert and John] 
Van Eyck. 

This retrospect is not entirely foreign to my subject ; but 
we will now return to the present state of Grerman art, and 
inquire into the new direction it has lately taken in its de- 
velopment at Bome. One point, however, remains to be 
cleared up before the object of this treatise can be accom- 
plished, and it is, indeed, a point of the highest importance, 
as until our ideas on that particular are distinctly defined it 
wiU be impossible to form an unbiassed and impartial judg- 
ment. It chiefly relates to the dioice of subjects ; for many 
young artists, who confine themselves from choice to study- 
ing the most excellent masters of the present time, have, in 
accordance with the general plan of those painters, and of 
the older schoois also, selected Christian subjects in particu- 
lar for their paintings. The public in general do not approve 
of these religious themes, but, on the contrary, decidedly 
reject them; and this determined opposition on their part 
has greatly contributed to prolong the contest so powerfully 
maintained against the true destinatiim and office of the art 

I am not aware that it has ever been asserted that Christian 
themes should be made the ezcludve subjects of representa- 
tion. It is true that the old masters of a loftier time pre- 
ferred those sulijects, and devoted their grandest and most 
important works to the honour of religion; naturally so, 
indeed, because in their time the fervent aspirations of art 
were linked with, and the of&pring of, religion, their prin- 
cipal office being to adorn the sanctuary, imd beautify de- 
votion. The old painters, nevertiieless, frequentiy chose 
mythological subjects in fresco for the adornment of secu- 
lar palaces : we see this first in Baphael, and after him in 
Giulio Romano, the latter displaying peculiar originality of 
mind ; later still, we have the Carracd, and their successors. 
-Grand poetical subjects, drawn from ancient mythology, or 


heroic poetry, are peculiarly adapted for fresco ; but, on 
the contrary, those of a deeper character, in which symbolic 
mysteries require to be animated by consummate skill in the 
finishing, belong rather to the sphere of oil-painting. It 
was, therefore, a happy idea of the Grermans — Overbeck, 
Philip Yeit, and Julius Schnorr — to make their fresco 
paintings in the Villa Giustiniani from the imaginative 
Italian poets, Dante, Ariosto, and Tasso, thus forming a 
series of cyclic representations. I can easily believe, fdso^ 
that the old Trojan, Homeric, or other heroic historians, 
might be executed with much more effect in the grand style 
of fresco paintings than they have hitherto been in easel 
pictures ; nor will I deny that many other themes, widely 
removed from the sphere of Christian art, are yet most ex- 
quisitely attractive. Who can coldly contemplate a Danae 
or Antiope of Titian, or an lo of Correggio ? Yet I could 
almost wish such subjects had been treated exclusively by 
painters of their genius and delicate taste ; handled, as we so 
frequently see them, by inferior minds, they become un- 
endurable. I would also remind young artists that they 
must follow a much severer path before they can hope to 
attain the lofty degree of excellence, which will enable them 
to diffuse the exquisite expression of true living beauty and 
grace, without evidently deriving it from the bare charm of 
the senses ; easy though it may be to please many through 
that medium alone, for the public are often only too sus- 
ceptible of pleasure from such voluptuous subjects, if treated 
with moderate delicacy. 

The spirit and treatment, however, are here of primaiy 
importance. There must be no exclusiveness in the subject, 
even though a preference is naturaL To banish all Christian 
subjects from the domain of art would be most arbitrary and 
useless, since the taste for them will ever continue to subsist^ 
being founded not only on the example of each great proto- 
type of past ages, but also on the necessities of our own. 
During the last thirty years, it is true, there have been many 
more churches destroyed than either built or decorated with 
pictures ; yet the return of peace and order has already given 
birth to other .thoughts, and not in our country only, but in 
many others, a number of expressive compositions designed 
for the adornment of churches have appeared and we feel 


justified in prognosticating a rich succession of them. In* 
deed, Christianity is by no means in so feeble a condition as 
revolutionists and would-be heathens imagine and declare ; 
our own Germany affords one example in proof of this 
assertion, in which I pre-eminently rejoice, namely, that 
Protestants also seem anxious to beautify their churches 
with devotional paintings; thus opening a new career for the 
votaries of Grerman art, in the field which has ever been its 
peculiar choice. Besides the churches, too, there are many 
private families, who in some apartment of their dwell- 
ing, devoted almost exclusively to that purpose, place a 
'^ Holy Yii^in and Child," an ^< Annunciation," or some 
other well-executed devotional painting, which is thus con- 
tinually before their eyes. Still the taste of individuals is so 
various, that many men would doubtless have equal pleasure 
in looking at the representation of a sucking calf. Indeed, if 
the execution be as excellent as we imagine it to have been 
in the celebrated cow of Myro, which Gk>ethe has so finely 
described in the fourth number of his Treatise on Art, even 
that subject might be received into the circle of artistic 
representations. I must nevertheless distinctly assert that 
such subjects, however meritorious in their kind, should 
never be permitted to intrude among higher and holier 
themes. Should it be asserted that painting among the 
Greeks attained greater perfection than in the time of 
Baphael and others, and that the young artist ought to 
launch freely and without constraint into the ample field of 
Greek mythology, selecting for example some of the least 
familiar subjects of Philostratus, the assertion would meet 
with but little attention ; for we have at present sufficient 
experience on this point to know that Greek painters never 
attained a very high grade of perfection in comparison with 
the old masters of the Christian time, or the sculptors of 
their own, and such a suggestion, if made in earnest, would 
scarcely deserve a serious reply. We have already seen the 
tendency of pagan antique imitation in the stony pictures, 
and dead creations it has produced, and it would therefore 
be impossible to listen to so extravagant a proposal, unless 
supported by signs and wonders of a description differing 
very much n*om those hitherto brought to light. 
Thequesti<m of the selection of sul^ects, Christian subjects 


more especiallj, is doselj eonnected with that of the eufy 
GremMui DMBner, both as to the degree in which it maj be 
in itself abiolutdby^ objectranahle^ ec^ when kept within doe 
limits, and confined to a certain dasa of sttfajecta^ appropriate 
and admiflflible. All Christian themesy being sjmboliGy reqniiB 
to be Bjmbolieallj treated, and that severe and serious stjie 
which seems to bear the stamp of antiqixitj, is therefore 
peculiarlj appropriate. If Christian themee are not treated 
8jmboli(9ill7 tiironghottt^ bnt in a simple, woridlj, adsd 
merdy human style, and if I may be pennittod the ezprea* 
sion, solely with a view to dramatie effect, they must indu- 
bitably present subjects quite ununited to artistic composi- 
tions^ in fact, hardly enduraUe, and fully justify the oensore 
and ayersion of the opposite party. This pointy howeTer^ 
must be left for the present undiaciiased, as sJSbrding abun^ 
ant material for a separate investigation. 

But I cannot thua lightly pass ot^ the hypo&esis, that 
ancient Greek paintings (of which we may judge firom the 
Greek pictures in the collection at Fortici) were as perfect 
in their way as those of Raphael and his cont^nporaries;. 
The reverse is universally acknowledged in regard to paint- 
ing ; although in sculpture, the Greeks reached an eminence 
wMch we can scarcely hope to equal, much less surpass. The 
sculptor therefore should cUng closdy to the ancients, makii^ 
them his guides, and merely as it were carrying out more 
fully the development of their principles. The highest prooF 
of skill in this art is the production of antiqpie designs ; and 
that power, when exerted so successfully as by Michelangelo, 
in the famous Faun, and Thorwaldsen, in his Eginetic figures, 
not only excites extreme astonishment but also deserves the 
highest praise. The next aim of the sculptor's genius appears 
to be to represent a classical figure in such a manner that it 
might even be taken for an antique^ like Thorwaldsen's 
Mercury, whidi appears as if girded with a sword, only the 
more imperatively to announce to hundreds of modem statues 
their impending and inevitable doom. If, then, sculpture 
has among us reached this first and comprehensive degree 
of perfection, we surely ought not to doubt whether it be 
capable of handling difierent and peculiar subjects in an 
equally excellent style, recommencing and carrying to per- 
fection the unfinished efforts of the Middle Ages and the 

1819.] ON LANDSCAPB-PAnrriNG. 308 

first experiments of Chnatiaa acolptiire. '* The Christy" de- 
signed by our gifted Dannecker, claims miqoalified admi- 
ration aod sympathj, and. must be regarded with anxious 
interest as the first attempt of that natore which our tiaiea 
have witnessed* 

The Gensan exhibition was abundantlj supplied with 
eoccdlent works of seulpture ; and much might be said of the 
great genius of Rudolf Schadow, of Sdudler's meritorious 
works, and the bas-reliefs of Eberhard, aU of which deserve 
to be attentively studied. The circumstance of Thorwaldaen's 
'' Graces" being unfinished, and therefore of course absent 
from the exhibition, gave occasion to many witticisms. I 
shall only observe, that had they been there people; would 
no doubt have pronounced them hard and stif^ or perhaps, 
even decidedly old Grerman, for that great artist has un- 
doubtedly treated his subject in the severe maimer of the 
early Grreeks, and with very little of that soft, unctuous fiow 
of outline, which alone finds favour among the modems. 

I shall not at present dwell further on the subject of 
sculpture, as I wish to confine my observations to paintings 
and particularly to the old historical and symbolic subjects. 
The judgment of the world has, in that department especi- 
ally, been far too mudi biassed by opposition and party 
spirit, but I trust the principles here set forth will bring 
those conflicting opinions into harmony, or at least conduce 
to a just appreciation of the points in which they differ. 
Neither will it be consistent with my present views, to enter 
upon the subject of landscape»painting, apart from the other 
branches of the art. I should find it necessary for that pur- 
pose to study a number of unfathomable, and, I might add, 
little known theories, in the hope of discovering by their 
assistance some connecting link between the prevailing taste 
and my own ideas, different as is the direction of each ; and 
determining whether the preference ought to be awarded to 
a fiiithful and vigorous delineation of any simple natural 
theme, imbued throughout with deep signification and ex- 
pression, or to the attempt to seize one moment of some 
brilliant natural phenomenon, and portrajdng it with vivid 
and even deceptive truth ; or again, whether both should be 
combined, as for example, the distinct styles of Ruysdael and 
Claude Lorrain. 


For the present it will suffice to remark, that the works of 
Koch, Catel, Rebell, Rohden, and others in the German ex- 
hibition, exemplify not only the extreme points of each con* 
trasting style, but also every stage of the transition from 
one mode of treatment to the other. The worics of Koch^ in 
his best time, are the most remarkable in the entire cycle of 
modern German art, from the deep feeling concentrated in 
them, and the luxuriant richness of nature which they re- 

I have no inducement to dwell more fully on the works of 
a few older German masters, as their compositions belong 
properly to an earlier period : my intention, as I have said, 
being rather to examine such modem productions as have 
attracted peculiar censure or commendation from the public. 

I wish, however, before concluding, to offer the few fol- 
lowing remarks, with respect to the opinion so often re- 
peated, that Raphael, and other Christian painters of his time, 
attained a degree of excellence which has never since been 
equalled or surpassed. We should still most joyfuUy wel- 
come and encourage every indication that seemed to promise 
new and exalted eminence. Perhaps we ought not to be too 
hasty in indulging this hope; and, until it is fully realised, 
it will undoubtedly be more safe to follow some glorious ex- 
ample, and treading in his steps, seek to open to ourselves a 
new path, suited to our own time, and in pursuing which 
we shall advance still further towards the goal we have in 
view : thus only, indeed, dare we hope to see renewed the 
spring-time and summer of art. We must not give credence 
to those who affirm that its glory is for ever passed away, — 
that it is vain to hope in our time for a revival or any 
new development of power, because, like old Nature, its 
energy and vitality are alike exhausted ; and not only all 
appreciation of the past, but all hope of future, reaction or a 
new life, is for ever extinguished. I could not pass over in 
silence so dangerous an opinion, at this moment especially, 
when it is so directly proved to be false and injurious ; even 
now a new impulse has been communicated to the regenerate 
art, and it i^eeds only to be received with Sjrmpathy and 
favour, to expand into far brighter promise and reality. 

1819.] REVIVAL OF AKT. 305 

A most triumphant advance has been made in Christian 
art, and its foundation has been wonderfully strengthened 
and confirmed bj the two grand publications of Sulpice 
Boisser^. One, a splendid and detailed account of the most 
majestic monuments of mediasval ecclesiastical architecture ; 
the other, a collection of engravings from old German paint* 
ings, the lithography of which, in some instances, as for 
example, in the St. Christopher, of Memling, is brought to 
a degree of perfection that could scarcely have been antici- 

A fundamental knowledge of old German art, and a true 
feeling for Christian beauty, will not fail to develop them- 
selves simultaneously. Those ideas of religious beauty which 
earlier, when the divine feeling itself existed, vivified and 
inspired the whole period, had at an after period slumbered 
on unnoted and undeveloped, till in later times they were 
forgotten, disfigured, or perverted by hostile misrepresen- 
tations, and the strange errors induced by foreign influence. 
Now they again bresdk forth in more than pristine beauty, 
and the correct principles of our rising school will continually 
acquire more and more influence, till at length they become 
fixed triumphantly on a new and inmiutable basis. The deep 
and pious Christian feeling thus re-awakened among us will 
increase in power and intensity, while the sterile imitations 
of the Pagan antique sink back into empty nothingness, 
together with the false theories on which they rest. Indeed, 
independently of this peculiar influence, the difiusion of a 
deeper knowledge of the individuality and real grandeur 
existing even in old heathen art, had left the favourite 
themes of modern copjrists without power or influence. It is 
a peculiar characteristic of the new style in general, that it is 
ever emulative and aspiring, ever absorbed in the pursuit of 
those lofty ideas of art which are frequently crowned with 
glorious fruition by the working of such ardent aspirations 
alone, an example of which is seen in the success that attended 
the pursuit of science and philosophy among the ancients. 
Hence, too^ errors qf manner and treatment are found border- 
ing closely on the delicate line of the highest spiritual beauty, 
so closely, indeed, as often to destroy its effect, at least in 
the opinion of the world. Yet all mannerism, and the style 
of the miniaturists included, whether practised on a greater 


or less extensiTe scale, are begiimiDg graduaUj to sink in the 
estimation of the public^ except when aupported by the false 
magic of momentarj caprice ; and worthy opportunities and 
glorious themes stiU. remain for lofty talent to luxuriate in^ 
while pursuing the silent path of deeply rooted, serious, de» 
Yotional beauty, which seeme at last to be regaining its due 
ascendancy. Religious feeling is, indeed, far more willingly 
admitted to pre-eminence in painting than in either poetry or 
philosophy, both of which are still distracted by the spirit of 
opposition and subversion. 

A true knowledge and appreciation of devotional feeling 
in painting and its practical principles are already esta* 
blished among us on a sufficiently secure basis; that happy 
talent which is the gift of nature alon^ united with the tech- 
nical skill and facility that must be acquired by study, we 
assume to be already provided. What more, then, is needed, 
it may be asked, to enable the painter to reach the perfec- 
tion to which he aspires ? I reply that, it is most essential, in 
the first place, that the beautiful truths of the Christian faith 
and religion should not be received into the mind as merely 
lifeless forms, in passive acquiescence to the teaching of 
others: they must be embraced with an earnest convic- 
tion of their truth and reality, and bound up with each 
individual feeling of the painter's souL StiU even the in- 
fluence of devotion is not alone sufficient; for however 
entirely religion may be felt to compensate for all that is 
wanting to our earthly happiness, much more is required 
to form a painter. I know not how better to designate 
that other element, without which mere technical skill^ and 
even correct ideas, will be unavailing, than by styling it 
the inborn light of inspiration. It is something quite dis- 
tinct from fertility of invention^ or magic of colouring, 
rare aud valuable as is the latter feature in painting. It 
is no less distinct from skill in the lofty technicalities of 
design and the natural feeling for beauty inherent in some 
susceptible minds. The poet and the musician especially 
should also be inspired, but their inspiration is more the 
offspring of human emotion, the painter's must be an emana* 
tion of celestial light ; his very soul must, so to speaks become 
itself illumined, a glowing centre of holy radiance, in whose 
bright beams every material object should be reflected, and 

1819.] CHRISTIAN ART. 307 

even his inmost coDoeptions and daily thoughts be inter- 
penetrated by its brightness, and remodelled l^ its influence. 
This in-dweuing light of the soul should be recognised in 
eyery creation of his pencil, expressive as a spoken word; 
and in this lies the peculiar vitalit j of Christian beautj, and 
the cause of the remarkable differ^ice between classical and 
Christian art The classic is based upon a loftj idea of the 
living human frame^ linked in a certain degree with a sen- 
timent of exquisite intellectual lovdiness, yet not treated as 
if these principles were of eqnal importance, but rather 
giving to the intellectual spirit an infoior and secondary 
influence : man, according to the early Christian type, still 
appears in nature, according to the antique idea, like the 
commanding god ruling over her spirit-forms with king-like 
power ; yet physical beanty is here employed but as a ma^ 
terial veil, from beneath which the hidden divinity of the 
soul shines forth, illuminating all mortal fife with the higher 
spirituality of love. Even in the choice of subjects for paint- 
ing, this ray of inborn inspiration^ this divine enthusiasm, 
must guide and govern the painter^s decision. A more than 
earthly aspect subduing the soul ; a state of heavenly illu- 
mination and exaltation; an upspringing from the dark night 
of mortality, Uke the morning dawn breaking through heavy 
clouds ; a speU of love and fascination in the midst of suffer- 
ing nature, or a flash of intense beauty, created from the veiy 
anguish 'of the soul's despair; — such are the peculiar and 
not merely pleasing themes which afford subjects to the Chris- 
tian painter, and such is the spirit in which they ought to be 
rendered. There are also, it is true, old historical and even 
mythological subjects which are not only susceptible of the 
deeper meaning that the soul demands, but even naturally sug- 
gest and give birth to it Such themes* certainly need not 
be excluded from the circle of Christian art. It does not by 
any means require an arbitrary restriction to certain exterior 
forms and given subjects, nor does its beauty depend ex- 
clusively on the observance of particular rules, but rather 
springs from the all-pervading influence of a pure and holy 
devotion. All mere representations of the outward frame, 
taken without reference to the spirit, are but dead forms, 

* See psgc 105. Giulio Romano, and Remarks on Italian Painters 
and Greek Subject*. 

z 8 





mute and inexpressive. The spirit never remains attached 
in motionless union to a lifeless frame, and the soul-inspiring 
principle of intellectual development, like the restless pulse- 
throb of natural life, aspires unceasingly, without weariness 
or lassitude, to the eternal goal it has in view; we need 
not therefore fear lest modem Christian art should ever 
again recur to the vain repetition and imitation of the Pagan 
antique, but maj rather anticipate that, pressing steadily 
forwards, it will establish and carry to perfection the new 
and peculiar school which has arisen from the progressive de- 
velopment of Christian intellect, and the spiritual disposition 
now prevailing in the world. 

A profound knowledge of early art and genuine feeling 
for holy beauty will powerfully conduce to this most earnestly 
desired i*esult, and would seem to promise certain indications 
of success. In the productions of our Christian ancestors, 
whatever may be the theme selected, the innate principles 
of their holy faith and piety are strikingly apparent, and, 
in order rightly to understand and appreciate them, the 
eye of the beholder should be illumined with that same 
spiritual light from whence they drew their birth. This 
sympathy of feeling will quicken our perception of holy 
things, for the soul alone can comprehend the truly beautiful; 
the eye of sense may gaze on the material veil of external 
grace, but it penetrates not to that severe and lofty meaning 
which reveals itself to the intelligence alone. That radiant 
light of the soul, in which, as in the magic mirror of creative 
fancy, the beautiful is vividly pourtrayed and recognised, is 
true, unfeigned, and spiritual devotion, ever therefore essen- 
tially linked with Christianity, inseparably one with the 
mysterious revelation of our holy faith, and the all-subduing 
power and perfect knowledge of divine and immortal love. 



Chiyalrt, enchantments, and love, were the favourite themes 
of the beautiful old romances which have been handed down 
to us from the olden time ; and it is to this spirit that the 
greatest German poets of the Suabian and a somewhat later 
period, as well as the Italians, owe their noble songs and 
romances of chivalry. 

The most imaginative and interesting of these knightly 
tales are unquestionably those which relate to Kin^ Arthur 
and the Eiiights of the Sound Table ; and of tnese the 
most singular and remarkable is perhaps that of the Magi- 
cian Merlin. 

The German version of this romance was taken from the 
best French sources that the Biblioth^que at Paris afforded, 
in the years 1803 and 1804.* 

The story of Lother and Mailer is a narrative by Mar- 
garet, Countess of Piedmont and Duchess of Lothringia ; 
and was written in the Italian language, in the year of our 
Lord 1405. It was thence translated into Grerman, by Frau 
Elizabeth, Countess of Nassau-Saarbriick, a daughter of 
the above-mentioned Countess Maigaretha and the Duke 
Friedrich of Lothringia. The above translation was made 
about the year 1437, and the story here given has been 
adapted from that German manuscript. We gather from 
the introductory sentences that the translator was aware of 
a Latin version of even earlier date. 

* So many ▼endons of this tale are already before the English public* 
that the publisher of this trork has deemed it unnecessary to attempt a 
translation of Schl^el's: it has been ably rendered by George Ellis 
in particular, and will be found in his " Early English Metrical Ro- 
mances ; " this tale has therefore been omitted in this volume. 

X 3 


I am indebted for my knowledge of this MS., which is 
but little later than the original, to my very estimable friend 
Canon Walraff of Cologne ; and I made and completed this 
German version in that city in the years 1804 and 1805. 

Besides the merit of the fiction and the peculiar style of 
the narrative, it presents a picture of knightly friendship 
which seems to have first prompted the original translator 
to endeavour to rescue it from oblivion; and the present 
version has been undertaken by me from a similar feeling, 
and with a regard to the same object 

Many knightly encounters and adventures introduced 
towards the conclusion of the tale have been omitted, as 
partaking too much of the ordinary character of chivalric 
romances ; and some circumstances in the catastrophe, which, 
though not in themselves absolutely objectionable, might 
seem repugnant to the refinement of modem timesy have 
been considerably modified or kept out of view. 

{From an unpublished German Manuscript*) 


I AM about to relate a fair history of great beauty, and 
full of pleasant adventures, which in all verity happened 
in the manner here set down. 

The book was originally rendered from the Latin into 
Italian, and thence translated into the German language ; it 
describes the fidelity and affection of two faithful friends, 
such as has never been surpassed. 

These fri^^ids were both of princely birth : the one was 
a son of King Charles of France, and named Lother ; the 
other, a soil of the valiant King G^lyens, was called Mailer, 


and his mother, Bosamond, was the most beautiful woman 
of that time. 

Lother, renowned in every virtue, was gay and ardent, 
and made himself so agreeable to all womankind, that the 
whole sex was in love with him. This caused much dis- 
pleasure among many of the knights, and they went to 
Ludwig, King Charles' other son, to complain of his brother's 

" Sir," said they, " your brother Lother is continually 
pursuing our wives and daughters, and we know not how to 
hinder him. He will continue this course in spite of us, 
unless for seven years he be banished the country. In that 
space perhaps his outrages will be forgotten, and he arrived 
at sufficient wisdom to understand good from evil. But if 
he remains here, of this you may be certain, he will excite in 
the nobles such anger and disgust, that yours and your 
father's safety will be in jeopardy. Therefore, sir, we beg 
of you to lay this matter before the king." 

" I will willingly undertake to do so^" said Ludwig ; and 
he forthwith went to his father, King Charles, and explained 
the matter to him. 

King Charles immediately sent for his son Lother ; and 
when the latter had arrived, accompanied by his comrade 
Mailer, ** My dear son," began King Charles, '' my nobles, 
knights, and faithful foUowers, are very indignant and highly 
exasperated against you for practices which I have so often 
forbidden ; my advice you have not thought fit to follow, 
and it has been not a little trouble to me. Now therefore 
must I speak a judgment upon you ; by the Almigh^ God 
and his dear mother the holy Virgin, by all Grod's saints in 
Heaven and the good St Denis to boot, by my father's and 
my mother's soul, by the crown which I bear on my head 
and by my beard which I hold in my hand, if I find you, 
within seven yeaiB, come within the boundaries of my king- 
dom, I will throw you into a deep dungeon, wherein for 
those seven years neither son nor moon shall you see 

As Lother heard his father thus speak, the blood ran cold 
in bis veins. '^Dear lord and father," said he, ''whoever 
advises you to this is certainly not my friend; I would 
therefore beg of you earnestly not to be thus harsh unto 

X 4 


me, for I hope I have not so deserved : I pray you, for 
God's sake, to be better advised," 

" It may, nay, cannot be otherwise ordered," said Charles. 
" Take gold and silver as much as you may require ; also 
such of my best knights as may please you, and go into 
another land and gain honour. Fight against the heathen ; 
and if you find yourself in any dire straight, let me know 
that I may come to your assistance. In truth, my dear son, 
you must absent yourself for seven long years, for so I have 
been faithfully counselled ; if you fail to do what I com- 
mand, never more with me shall you have peace. Try 
every path by which glory may be attained, as did Geryn 
of Mangel, who won that same land with his arms and my 
assistance. Lay yourself out as well, and I will also help 
you. Be good and true, and I will ever hold you for my 
son ; but fail in virtue, and I will as constantly deny you." 

" Father," said Lother, *' 1 will do as you command me ; 
I will take with me Mailer, my comrade, and several other 
knights, whose company I woidd gladly have. God be my 
witness, I am not inclined, my dear father, to return again 
until I have won glory and a kingdom." And the king said, 
" Therewith am I greatly rejoiced." 

"Well, dear comrades!" cried Lother to his knights, as 
he went out from his father, " let us away ; my father has 
banished me for seven years from this country, and my 
heart tells me I shall never inherit this kingdom." " Dear 
lord," said Mailer, " do not be disheartened ; those who 
have counselled this to the emperor your father will soon 
have their reward for it; it was intended for your injury, 
but I hope it will be rather for your glory and service ; it is 
not right that a young man should spend his days at home, 
but seek in foreign lands to lay the foundation of that 
fortune and honour which at home he may not easily attain. 
I, for my part, will go with you, and faithfully serve you." 
With these words Mailer embraced him and comforted him. 
Lother was consoled, and said, smiling, " I hope God will 
help me ; let us put our trust in him, and he will make the 
journey easy to us." 

With this Lother called his companions, that they might 
make ready and put on their good armour. Mailer, like the 
rest of the knights, prepared himself magnificently ; and 


thej all placed themselves before the palace, well armed, and 
in knightly array. Lother mounted his horse, and took 
leave of the assembled knights and nobles of the court. 
These all wept as they saw Lother depart, except those who 
had so counselled, and they laughed and rejoiced. 


LoTHEB and his companions, after they had obtained 
abundance of gold and silver from the emperor Charles, de- 
parted from Paris and rode into Lombardy, to a town called 
Pavia, where Lother found his uncle, his mother's brother. 
He betook himself, with his comrades, to an inn in the 
town ; and after they had laid aside their armour, they went 
in a body to the castle, where they found King Dansier, 
Lother*s uncle, in the garden under the shade of an olive- 
tree, where he sat, playing at chess with one of his knights. 

" May God protect my uncle," said Lother, as he appeared 
before him ; upon which King Dansier rose up and received 
him very kindly. " How is your father, whom I love very 
dearly ?" asked he of Lother. " He is well," answered 
Lother ; ^^ but I have been falsely slandered to him, insomuch 
that he has banished me for seven years from his kingdom.*' 

'* Let not this frighten you,** said King Dansier ; '* I am 
rich enough, and will certainly not let you be in any trouble. 
An honest man abandons not his friends in the time of 

" Sir uncle," said Lother, ^^ I pray you be silent on the 
subject of my remaining with you, for that I am still too 
young ; a young man should ride abroad and seek knightly 
adventures, and neither heed summer nor winter, that the 
noble deeds achieved in his youth may well rejoice him in 
his old age. Therefore, dear sir unde, my desire is to ride 
against the infidel, and seek knightly adventures." *' Well 
spoken," said King Dansier. While they were conversing 
together, there came to them Otto, the son of King Dansier, 
a youth of fine figure, pretty face, and red hair. When he 
had heard what had happened to Lother, and that he was 
banished, he swore to him that he never would leave him ; 
but in this he lied, as you will see in the sequel. 

When Lother had been about fourteen days at his uncle's 



court, he said to Otto, ** Cousin, I go now against the in- 
fidel ; if 70a will join me, willingly will I share with jou 
whatever I may gain.** " Yes, cousin," said Otto ; " I am 
willing to accompany you, and will also take my followers, 
if you will swear to me, this whole year long to bear my 
name, and let me likewise bear yours ; you and your whole 
suite must swear at the altar, that you, during the whole 
year through, will be treated by them as I should be ; and I 
on my part pass for you." " That 1 will willingly do," said 
Lother ; and he and all his companions swore the oath to 
him at the altar. Thereupon Lother and Otto took leave of 
the king : the latter strictly enjoined his son to hold Lother 
in honour, and to do every thing that was agreeable to him. 
Then they departed. 

In the country of the Komans they came into a wood in 
front of a castle, where they had an intent to pass the night. 
But in this castle there lay concealed robbers, to the number 
of at least two hundred. It is a common 8a3dng, and it is also 
true, that as we have great difficulty in protecting ourselves 
against secret thieves, so we may also never suffer more than 
from those we most trust. So it happened to Lother ; he 
trusted his cousin Otto entirely, but the latter played him 
false. As they sat at table in the castle, where they had 
been at first favourably received by the robber chieftain, and 
were little on their guard, the robbers sprang out of their 
lurking places and fell upon them. As soon as Otto was 
aware of this, he left his cousin Lother and the rest in their 
extremity, and ran away. 

Lother and his men fought bravely with the robbers, and 
with such manhood that the latter were quickly overpowered 
and fied. When Otto became aware that Lother and his 
companions were pursuing them, he scrambled down from 
the tree in which he had taken refuge, drew his sword, and 
ran after the robbers with the rest *' Cousin," said he, to 
Lother, " we may well thank Grod that we have conquered 
the robbers." " Verily," cried Mailer, " you have marvel- 
lously helped thereto ; see where they aU lie, those whom you 
have slain." Now they remained the night in the castle and 
reposed. On the morrow they betook themselves once more 
to the road, and passing Rome, went towards Constan- 
tinople ; they were thence obliged to cross the sea. 

GH. hl] lother and malleb. 316 

When they were all emharked, Lother said^ ^ Now let us 
be joyfol ; our first adventure with the murderers has ended 
happilj^ and Grod will help us jet further. But I beg of 
you all to stand hj each other, and do not forsake yoor 
comrades should any adventure again happen to us." This 
they all swore to with willing hearts. 

As soon as they landed, they were again in the same 
manner assaulted by robbers, who with great cries rushed 
upon them. Otto immediately turned his horse about, and 
rode into a wood near the shore. Here he hid himself, while 
Lother and his knights fought with the marauders. Mailer 
having observed his retreat, rode after and found him sitting 
behind a hedge. '' Thou false traitor," cried Mailer ; " may 
God curse thee that thou leavest thy cousin Lother alone in 
such extremity!" He took a cudgel, and so belaboured 
Otto, that he, fleeing from Mailer, fell into the water ; 
Mailer pulled him out by one leg, and drove him before liim 
into the battle. He told Lother how he had found Otto 
sitting under a hedge. " By my troth," said Lother, •* I was 
a fool to bring him with me, and still more so to exchange 
my name with his." They fought manfully, yet they would 
not have come off so well this time as on the first occasion, 
had not the prefect of the country, a very brave knight, 
hastened to their assistance. The robbers were beaten, and 
their feet and hands cut off. Then the prefect, when he had 
heard that they were come to serve King Orschier, and to 
assist him in his war against the infidels, led them to the 
king, to whom he related how they had fallen in with the 
robbers, how they had borne themselves in the fight, and 
how they were come to help him against the infid^ ; and 
King Orschier received these soldiers joyfully, and was the 
more especially glad when informed that the son of the king 
of France was also with them. 


KnvQ Orsohieb, taking Otto by the hand, ^ Dear lord," said 
he, *'what is your name, and whence did you come hither?" 
" Sir," said Otto, '<I am named Lother, and I am the son of 
King Charles of Prance." " It rejoices me greatly," replied 
Orschier, " that you are come hither, to stand by me in my 


need. You shall live at mj court ; I will treat you well, 
and will give you my daughter Zormerin in marriage ; so 
charming is she in person that never have you beheld a more 
beautiful woman." ** Sir," answered Otto, " I should, indeed, 
be a fool if I did not accept your offer ; I thank you for it 
heartily." At this moment Zormerin advanced down the 
steps towards them, led by two high ladies of the court. 
'* Approach, my dear daughter," said the king; "here is 
Lother, son of the King of France ; receive him kindly, and 
thank him that he is come hither to assist me : I have pro- 
mised thee to him ; you will, if Grod please, be happy with 
him." " He and his companions are welcome," said Zorme- 
rin ; " but I also see there a handsome knight standing in 
the background ; he is of nobler figure than any among them, 
and I would fain know who he may be?" "He is called 
Otto," said the king ; " he came with Lother from France." 

Zormerin was very beautiful and intelligent, and it would 
have been difficult to find any woman equal to her; and 
thought Otto in his heart, " if the time were only come when 
I might clasp her in my arms and make her my own, Lother 
and his comrades should hang on the gallows. All he knows 
is how to fight; but I prefer remaining with the women. 
What avails it to a man to be killed in battle ? he is soon 
forgotten. For my part, I like a good long life, delicate food, 
and good wine, for that is the physic for the body. Mary, 
mother of God, how beautiful is Zormerin! Lother has 
been his own betrayer, for now will I marry her under his 

Then they sat themselves down to table, King Orschier 
and his daughter, and, opposite to her. Otto. Mailer be- 
came thereat almost wild with rage, and said to Lother, 
^' Sir, what a fool have you been not to think sooner of this ! " 
Lother bade him be silent and be of good cheer, though he 
himself felt sorely grieved in heart, and cursed the hour in 
which he had exchanged names with Otto. King Orschier 
intimated to Otto that his comrades should be sent to the 
inn in the town, but he himself was requested to remain in 
the castle, in order that he might be present in person when- 
ever the infidels made their assault. As soon as the king 
had thus finished his say, he added thereto, — "So will I 
bestow upon you my daughter, and when I am gone you 


shall be king over this land." And Otto thanked him much 
for such great gifts. 

Then Lother and Mailer, with thirty horses, went into the 
town to a host called Salomon. 

But Otto and his men remained at the court, and would 
gladly have seen Lother and Mailer on the gallows, so much 
did they fear them. Zormerin showed Otto all the honour 
which she believed due to the son of the king of France. 
When Otto had the beautiful form of Zormerin continually 
before his eyes, and lived peaceably at the court, he forgot 
Lother and his comrade Mailer at the inn, and troubled 
himself as little about them as if they had been heathens. 

Lother at last spent all the money that he had brought 
with him, and, according to his need, sold by degrees all his 
horses, except his own excellent steed; he had received it 
from his father, and his comrades would never consent to his 
selling it. 

The host was a kind and honourable man, and gave him 
to eat on credit, and lent him besides twenty marks, because 
he had well observed how nobly Lother carried himself. 
But the twenty marks helped not much, and Lother had 
very soon spent them, for he bought therewith clothing for 
his knights, besides the things thereto pertaining. 

" Sir," said at length the knights, " it is truly folly in you 
not to declare to the King Orschier how ill that rascal Otto 
behaves to you, and how the whole matter stands ; but if 
you will not thus break your oath, we will in a body go to 
the king and lay it before him. Your father. King Charles, 
once held Ogier of Denmark in prison, and swore he would 
kill him ; and whoever interfered to pray for him the king 
hated and threatened to take his life ; whereupon the whole 
of the knights determined that they would go in a body be- 
fore the king, and plead for King Ogier ; so will we also do 
for thee." "You, gentlemen ?" replied Lother ; " by the Virgin 
who bore God under her heart, whosoever of you shall do 
this, shall die by my hand. He is no worthy man, and no 
truth is in him, who does not keep his oath firm. Shall a man 
for the sake of poverty burden his own soul ? I know well 
what we swore to Otto at the holy altar I if he do evil, 
shall we also do evil ? Bather would I carry stones upon 
my back than be false to my oath, and not hold to it firm 


«t ua contitine to live uprightly in the 
be will surely save us." The koights, 
ttber Bpeak so nobly, went out and wept. 
hey Bat at table, they nambered about 
le food prepared waa hardly sufficient for 
I a worthy man, shared what he had with 
indeed, twen^ pitchers of irine, and a 
lis best showed himself to be a righteoas, 

1 that Lotber was gone into an inn, and 
be endured, be rejoiced with all his heart, 
I King Orscbier to request of him to send 
inn, in order to purchase irom Lother his 
: be fancied that in his necessity Lother 
Lrt with it for gold. Thereupon King 
he inn one of his knights, who foand 
play with bis host, in the hope of forget- 
3DK When the knight bad made known 
ing the horse, Lother said to his comrades, 
en, I must now, indeed, sell my horse, in 
y our host." As the host heeu^ this be 
I, " So help me God, yon never shall, on 
or hone, even should I thereby lose all I 
un to yonr lord," added he, as be turned 
tell bim his guest may take it ill, but the 
tail take with you, rather would I with a 
lege." Attheaewordsof the host the mes- 
bis mind, because they very well pleased 
took leave of the host, and of Lother and 
rent again into the castle, and related all 
to the king and Otto, and the latter was 

1 observed, dear Mailer," asked Lother, 
gainst me in his mind ? Giod curse bim 
n I " said Mailer, " Mary, mother of God, 
thens come, that people then might we 
ui this false traitor is ! If he once came 
)ur would he lose his name again, because 
the courage to fight." 



LoTHEBy as he lay one daj in bed, looked at hia shirty be- 
cause it was veiy dirtj. ** Shirt," said he, " it is very long 
since you were washed, and that vexes me exceedingly. Mai- 
ler, dear comrade, take my shirt, and give it to some woman 
that she may wash it ; I will stay in bed till it is dry." 

« Very willingly, dear sir," said Mailer. He took it, and 
went out very early in the morning. " I will seek no 
woman," said he, ^* but will myself wash thee, thou shirt, 
because it becomes not a base woman to wash thee, and a 
noble one would not do it I " Then he went out of the house 
and through the town to a castle, where was a yerj beautiful 
garden, in which were many magnificent trees. It so hap- 
pened that the porter had not well closed the garden gate, 
and it stood partly open : Mailer entered, and came to a 
fountain in the midst of the garden : the water ran clear and 
pure out of golden lions' heads into a great bann of white 
marble — a more beautiful fountain was never seen : from it 
there went a flight of marble steps towards a walk adorned 
with marble columns, overlooking which was Zormerin's 
chamber, for the garden lay exactly behind the castle« When 
Mailer saw the fountain he threw the shirt into it, and 
washed it and rubbed it with his hands very industriously. 

At the same time came Zormerin with her maiden, named 
Scheidechin, down the steps into the garden ; and when they 
spied the knight at the fountain, they slipped behind a 
hedge close by, in order to observe him, how he so diligently 
washed and rubbed the shirt. Meanwhile Mailer, as if 
talking to the fountain, spoke thus in a loud voice : " Ah ! 
sweet spring, couldst thou but speak, well might'st thou boast 
that thou to-day with thy pure stream hast washed the shirt 
of the bravest knight who lives on the earth, or who ever 
bore arms. Cursed be the hour when he changed his name 
with the false, traitorous, red-haired Otto ; it is piteous that 
a man so nobly bom should be compelled to suffer such 
poverty!" When Zormerin heard these words, she slipped 
back softly again with her maiden up the steps into her 
chamber, and commanded Scheidechin to go down inune- 


diately, and bring to her the knight whose words thej had 
both heard below. 

Zormerin's maiden went down instantly to Mailer, who 
still remained at the fountain, and gave him the message 
from her mistress. Mailer followed her with alacrity into 
the chamber of the princess, which he found so beautiful, 
and ornamented with such splendour, that he marvelled 
thereat greatly. Zormerin sat on a high seat richly be- 
decked with gold and precious stones. As Mailer looked at 
her, a chill came over him, for he remembered the words 
that he had spoken with himself at the spring. He kneeled 
low before her and said, " May God, who for our redemp- 
tion willingly suffered, take the princess Zormerin and all 
who are dear to her into his care ! I pray you send my 
lord something to eat ; he has been fasting in his bed since 
yester morning." " What is your lord's name ?" asked 
2jormerin ; " he whose shirt you have been washing ?" Mai- 
ler was so frightened Jhat he could not bring out a word. 
" Do not be alarmed," continued Zormerin ; " whoever 
travels in strange lands, in order to seek adventures or to 
gain glory, cannot expect, at all hours and at all times, to 
have everything he requires or that he would wish to 
have." " Maiden," said Mailer, " I must avow that were 
my master Otto at his home in Lombardy, he would be rich, 
and well cared for." "How is it that you will still call 
him Otto ? I thought he had changed his name, for thus I 
heard you declare : the fountain, you said, had lent its ser- 
vices to the bravest knight in Christendom, named Lother, 
son of king Charles of France; cursed, said you, be the 
hour when he changed his name : my maiden will bear testi- 
mony that these were the words you uttered." " Yes, in- 
deed," said Scheidechin ; " I can bear witness that such were 
your words ; and as I saw you wring the shirt so with your 
hands, I bethought me, I would wilUngly have fetched you 
a washing-stick." 

" Lady," said Mailer, " I must admit that what you say is 
true ; I have with these hands washed the shirt of the bravest 
and most virtuous of knights, but could I win a kingdom 
thereby, to no living man would I tell his name, seeing that 
I have sworn a knightly oath not to do so." As Zormerin 
heard this, she thought within herself that it would have 


been better to have known nothing of this matter than not 
to sift the whole afiair to the bottom. Such is commonly 
the nature of women ; and if one but begins to relate any- 
thing to them, their whole mind is in labour, and they have 
neither rest nor peace until they have come to the end of it. 

Zormerin continued to urge Mailer ; but as he only per- 
sisted the more that he must not reveal the matter to any 
one, '^ Hear me," she said ; ^^ stay here awhile, and I will 
go with my maiden Scheidechin into another room, then 
speak your lord's name aloud to the earth : this may well 
be consistent with your oath. If I should then chance to 
overhear it, I will never reveal it until the time is come." 

" Worthy lady," said Mailer, " I will do whatever pleases 
you ; and if in so doing I am guilty of any act contrary to 
my oath, I will pray to Gk>d hourly that he will pardon me 
for your sake." Then Zormerin and Scheidechin went out 
into another room. 

*< Earth," said Mailer, <' listen to me ; to thee will I com- 
plain of the great rogue Otto of Lombardy, who with cun* 
ning words persuaded my master to exchange names with 
him, and now bears the name of my master, the son of King 
Charles of France. Therefore it is that King Orschier 
now does such great honour to Otto in my master's name ; 
while he, my master, must live in shame under the name 
of Otto, and with his comrades suffer poverty such as so 
great a prince never before endured." 

Before he could proceed further, Zormerin sprang into 
the room, and said, '^ Dear comrade, your master shall no 
longer be in want ; and in truth this treachery has long 
been suspected by me. Often in the church have I seen 
your master with tears flowing over his cheeks, so that I 
mourned for him. My heart, too, revealed it to me, and 
felt much more for him than for the traitor Otto ; and even 
though my father has promised me to the latter for a wife, 
never, never shall he have me; for he who would marry 
me must first deserve me. What is your name, comrade ?" 
" I am called Mailer, lady." "Dear Mailer," continued the 
princess, " in a happy hour you came to wash your lord's 
shirt at the fountain ; I will send your lord wherewithal to 
cheer him, so that the poverty which he and his conurades 



haye endured may be foj^fotteii^ and he and they henee* 
forth well enjoy themaelves." 

Then she fetched linen and dothes from her father, and 
gave them to Mailer, that he might present them to his 
master in her name, and also a costiy belt. Mailer thanked 
her, and took his leave, and went again the same way by 
which he came, to his master at the inn. 

'^ Whence comest thou hither so hastily ?" said the 
knight; as Mailer threw what he carried on his shoulders 
on the bed. '^Have you stolen these costly clothes from 
some rich rogue?" asked Lother. ''Now take them back 
again whence you took them ; never shall such things cover 
my body." 

''People should rather admire mydevemess^ inasmuch 
as I have been dexterous enough to rob a man. If I had 
indeed taken from a poor man, I should deserve the gal* 
lows ; but, sir, to take the rich man's property is a sin I will 
willingly bear, and never burden you with it Is it not 
better to steal from a rich man than to let a poor one die of 
hunger ?" Thus spoke Mailer in jest^ mocking his master; 
but when he saw that Lother was really in anger about the 
stolen property, he began seriously to tdl him the truth; how 
the king's daughter had watched him at the fountain ; how 
she, through her maid* had called him to her» and every 
thing as has been before related. When Xx>ther had heard 
to the end thereof, he heartily r^oiced. " I am truly glad,*' 
said he, "that thou hast not broken thine oath; because, 
indeed, my good Mailer, hadst thou done so, never again 
should I have felt pure and innoo^t." 

" Now, dear sir," quoth Mailer, " if it please you, I will 
prepare you a bath before you put (m the clean clothes." 

" That I should like very much>" said Lother : " only I 
fear the hostess will not permit it» seeing that I already owe 
her so much." 

Mailer made no reply, bat went straight to the hostess* 
He inquired of her whether she would prepare a bath for 
his master: she was very friendly, and said, "WiUingly 
will I do so." 

While she was still talking with him, there came a knight 
to the door, leading a horse heavily laden with gold and 
silver. " This treasure," said the knight " is sent by the 


prinoeBS ZcMrmerin, the king's daughter, to tilie guest, who is 
here in your inn; she has heard in what pover^ he is 
plunged, and this ^e cannot suffer to continue." 

Mailer took the money and carried it into the chamber to 
his master. *^ See, dear sir, this comes from the beautiful 
2iarmerin." ^' Grod protect her I" cried Lother ; ^ now will 
I again eat and drink jojouslj, and now also can I pay my 
host. After the batl^ I will mount my horse and ride a 
little ; it is more than four weeks since last I was on my 
horse, for in truth I had no indinatioin thereto^ as long as I 
was in debt to my host.** 

Lother payed the host with joyful heart, and thanked him 
that he had behaved so kindly to him ; then he caDed his 
company together, and gave them all money for horses^ 
arms, and fine clothes ; and he bathed himself, put on fine 
clothes^ and was rejoiced in his very heart 


ZoBifiSHiN went to her £Either, and said to him, '^ Dear lord 
and father, since you have so many strange soldiers now in 
the town, let us for once have a tournament ; this I entreat 
of you, and I promise to him who deserves the reward a 
beautiful horse. In this way yon will be able to prove 
and discover the merit of each among them ; and as it is 
known that King Pynart will soon come against the town, 
it is right that you should inform yourself on which of 
your servants you can best rely." 

" Dear daughter," answered the king, "I have long wished 
to do this, but Lother of France has each time prevented 

'*If Lother were true and brave," said Zormerin, "and 
were of noble blood as he reports himself, he would surely 
not oppose it ; but much rather would all his aspirations and 
thoughts turn often to the tourney and the fight. I swear, 
by God who created me^ were he even king over kings, I 
would never more be his. Never will I wed with a coward. 
He who becomes my husband must rule this country after 
yon ; and a cowardly, pusillanimous king would very ill pro- 
tect it against the neighbouring infidels I" 

Gladly the king heard this from his daughter, and imme- 

Y 2 


diatei J commanded his heralds to proclaim ia the town that he 
would have a tilt at the quintain at the palace; namelj, 
that six planks should be set up on an equal number of 
posts ; and whoever struck the plank should have a horse 
for his reward of the value of a hundred marks. The sol- 
diers were much rejoiced at this news, but Otto was fright- 
ened in his hearty and cursed a thousand times those who 
had suggested it. 

Lother prepared himself magnifioentlj, and so did his 
companions; — the Thursdaj, thought he, on which day the 
game was fixed, was very long coming, so impatient was he 
to tilt and to tourney. The other knights and nobles armed 
themselves gallantly thereto, for many a one amongst them 
thought himself the most valiant, and expected to gain the 

Zormerin said often to herself. May God permit that 
Lother win the guerdon ! then would I bestow it on him 
with all my heart. She often talked of him with her faith- 
ful Scheidechin, — <^ Could he but win the prize," said she, 
''he would then rise very high in my father's esteem, and 
the falsehood would soon show itself.** 

''Surely, you speak true," said Scheidechin. "I could | 
never persuade myself that Otto was really the man he gave < 
himself out to be : his whole behaviour was unworthy of 
him ; besides, he is a red-head, and they are commonly false 
and perfidious." 


When the Thursday arrived, the king went to the window 
of his palace ; and by him stood lords, counts, and knights,' 
to the number of two hundred. Zormerin stood on the 
other side, and near her thirty of her maidens. She was 
Tery magnificently clad ; on her mantle sparkled the most 
noble precious stones, and it was clasped in front by a car- 
buncle and a beautiful ruby. Upon this carbuncle a Jew, 
named Pharaoh^ had worked for seven years long ; he gave 
it to the sybil, by whom it was presented to the temple which 
was raised in Christ's honour. When the Emperor Vespasian 
destroyed Jerusalem, Pilate sent it to him, that he might 
induce him thereby to spare his life. The emperor gave it 

•f." ,i5 W I 

■1. ^ JP"^B^^^«^i^MBI^»"iMi*«« 


to St. Clemens, the pope, who bestowed it upon Antonius^ 
father of St* Helena ; the latter carried it to Constantinople, 
and offered it at St. Sophia ; thence it was placed among 
.'he treasures. This mantle King Orschier took out of the 
treasury, and adorned his daughter therewith ; none more 
beautiful could be seen in any countiy, nor any maiden more 
peerless than Zormerin ; for she was of such exceeding beauty, 
that no man could ever look directly at her without becoming 
so enamoured of her charms that he felt within himself he 
could never love another. 

Otto approached Zormerin as she, with her maiden Schei- 
dechin, sat in a window to see the tilting. " Dear lady," 
said he, *' I will bide here with you to see the tournament, 
so that I may be able to judge to whom the prize ought to 
be awarded." ** What can you be thinking of?" asked Zor^ 
merin ; " do you expect to win a beautiful wife by eating, 
drinking, and sleeping, and with lazy indolent effeminacy ? 
If it should so happen, that I became your wife, my 
knightly followers and the whole world might well marvel 
what sort of unblessed man I had married, one who does not 
understand how to wield his sword. For my sake do it ; 
ride out ; you may already have come into low estimation." 

Otto felt the reproach, and, half ashamed of himself, was 
obliged to go down from Zormerin to the tilting, and to 
mount his horse. 

The whole world came to the tourney, enlivened on the way 
by the sound of trumpets, fifes, and trombones ; and with the 
throng came also Lother, with a number of his companions 
and knights; he had also his fifers, trumpeters, and trombone- 
players, besides many heralds and esquires, who were mar- 
shaled in troops near and behind him as if he had been a 
great king. " Who," asked Orschier," is that stately knight 
who comes with so considerable a train?" "It is Otto of 
Lombardy, who was so very poor," said the servants ; " he 
must surely have stolen tho wealth, for how else could he 
have come by it?" Otto wondered not a little where his 
cousin Lother could have obtained the money for such an 
equipage, and could not conceal his astonishment. Mailer 
rode up to him, and said, " According to your ideas, doubtless 
we should now be in great poverty ; but such thoughts you 
must now dismiss, whether it be pleasing or painful to you. 

T s 


Whoeoever aims at wickedness, may he ever win jnst sucli a 
reward." Otto pretended he heard not what Mailer said to 
him, and rode on in £ront. 

Zormerin looked at no one as she did at Lother : he alcme 
pleased her above all others. Lother also often looked np 
at Zormerin, and when he remarked that her eyes were 
fixed on him, he made his horse bound so gallantly, and he 
leapt the barriers with such courage and such a noble de- 
portment, that every one was rejoiced to look at him. 

Now began the tilting. If the plank was not struck with 
exactitude by the lance, the heavy beam swung round upon 
the helmet and knocked the knight off his horse. This hap- 
pened to many who thought themselves very excellent. Otto 
placed his lance in rest, and ran so furiously, for he rode a 
good horse, that he neither saw nor heard. But as he came 
near the beam, against which he was to tilt, he became so 
frightened, that he failed to touch the plank; the spear 
turned round in his hand. Close to the plank was a slough, 
full of manure and £Qth ; as he now had not struck the bar 
of wood, but was himself struck by the swing-beam, his 
horse could no longer be held in, but carried him with him 
into the ditch, in which Otto lay like a log, bemired and 
weltering. Mailer began to laugh loudly. ** Hush, Mailer,** 
said Lother ; " if any other but you did that, I would never 
forgive him«" Lother was so true of heart, that it always 
hurt him when anything ill happened to Otto, although the 
latter behaved so wickedly to him. But Zormerin would not, 
for a waggon full of beaten gold, that Otto had succeeded. 

If ow Lother tilted at the plank with his lance with such 
force that the arm above, to which the plank hung, broke in 
two, and the latter fell ; in the same manner he threw down 
the other five planks. '^ Mary, mother of God," cried the 
knights, ''who has ever before seen so strong a knight?" 
'' Sire," said the herald, to King Orschier, " give this knight 
as much wealth, and as many horses as you will, you can 
never give him as much as he deserves." Zormerin, full of 
joy, said to Scheidechin, ** The red-head has lost me I Gro, 
hasten to Mailer; tell him, in my name, his lord may on this 
day keep open house in his hostelry, I will thereto send 
him money enough ; nevertheless, whatever I may send, he 
is deserving of much more." 

"» -^ Mtaw^^'wr'^'mrmi^f^^m^mm 

CB. Vn.] LOTHER Ain> MALLER. 327 

Scheidechin performad her errand to Mailer, who there- 
upon thanked her verj coarteously, and immediately rode to 
his lord in the lists, and bore to him the pleasure of the 
king's daughter. Lother called to him ten heralds and 
through them caused all nobles, as well knights as squires, 
noblemen, burghers and their wives, whatever their i^ or 
condition, to be invited that evening to the hostelry, and 
with him and his comrades to make merry, with eating and 
drinking and other enjoyments. 

Then spake one to the other, ^ Who indeed can have given 
this miserable fellow so much money and property? It 
cannot have come to him justly ; but a little while ago^ he 
was willing to sell his hcMrse for very poverty, and now he is 
going to keep open house. It is great arrogance truly. To* 
morrow early, by breakfast hour, he will have acampered oflT." 

Thus tattled the people; but Lother was jo3rful, and 
thanked God with his whole heart, that it had turned out so 
fortunately for him on this day. Zormerin's favour was more 
dear than all the gold she sent him, and his only anxiety 
was this, how he shoold well entertain his guests ; therefore 
he said to MaUer, ^^Dear comrade, trust not alone to the 
bost, see yourself that we have enough of every thing.** 
*' Never heed," said Mailer; ** nothing that is to be had in 
the town shall be wanting to us this evenings" Thereupon 
he rode away to the hostelry, and called to him the host. 
** Sir host," cried he, " set your wits to work, for my lord will 
keep open house here this evening, and he has by ten heralds 
caused to be invited knights, lords, gentles, burghers, and 
bui^hers' wives, old and young, great and small, and every 
one who likes to eat with us ; there must therefore be no 
want of any thing/' 

*' That shall be done, dear sir,'' said the host ; *' bring 
whom you will, I will provide well for all your guests*" 
Thereupon he went and prepared a most magnificent feast. 
When Uie tildng was over, everyone rode away to his house 
in order to lay aside bis armour, and then to repair to Lother 
at the inn. 


Ejkg ORscm«R sent the price to Lother, and commanded 
that he should be invited to the table at his eonrt ; butLother 

Y 4 


in reply begged that he would not think it ill in him if 
he did not come; it was not at present in his power, as 
he intended to hold a coart himsdf. Then the king won- 
dered greatij thereat. 

Lother betook himself to his inn, where the guests were 
already arrived in such numbers that thej could not find 
room in the house ; some of them were^ therefore, obliged to 
establish themselves in the garden, and some sat in the street 
in front of the inn. 

There was venison and game, and no lack of dishes with 
eatables of every kind. There stood thirty great butts of 
wine, both white and red, from which each man might drink 
as much as he pleased ; and on that same day full two hun- 
dred men were so gorged with wine they could not speak 
their own language. 

Then said one man to the rest, *^ In truth he will be obliged 
to decamp to-morrow morning ; the host is, indeed, a fool to 
give him credit for so much." Lother heard this, and said, 
*' Make yourselves easy, my friends, and care not for the 
reckoning, — our good host willingly gives me credit." '* I 
have as much uneasiness about my reckoning," said the host, 
*^ as if I had the money already in my hand." Then said 
they, '*Ah! our host is as drunk as any one among the 
guests ; to-morrow he will sing another song." 

The guests remained togetiber in revelry and jollity until 
midnight, when each departed from the inn. Zormerin 
had not forgotten her promise, and even before day-break a 
horse laden with gold and silver was brought to the inn. 
'* Dear host, now pay yourself as much as you've expended ; 
the remaining money take into your safe keeping ; as soon 
as it is spent tell me, that I may send you another supply." 

In the morning early Lother dressed himself gaily, and 
with his companions went to church; when Zormerin saw 
him, her heart beat violently; she entreated of her father 
that the knight, who the day before had tilted so admirably 
and carried off the prize, might be invited again to the table ; 
and she pointed Lother out to the king as being the same 
brave knight. Upon which the king went to him and invited 
him to his table ; but Lother would not accept it, and said in 
reply, '* Sir king, I will not sit at table with you until I have 
done you good service against the infidels." Then Zormeria 


gave him her hand, which he took, and she bade him good 
morrow^ on which he went back rejoicing to his inn. 


Fourteen dajs after came King Hispinart from Acre, with 
an army of two hundred thousand men, and with him be* 
sides fourteen kings. When these infidels entered into the 
country, all the inhabitants fled to King Orschier, and cried 
for aid against the pagan invaders. The king was alarmed 
when he heard that the enemy were so near, and commanded 
Otto to be called to him. '' Lother," said he, *^ order your 
soldiers to arm themselves: we must march against these 
heathens ; to you I commit my banner, and trust it whoUy 
to your care." 

Otto was frightened in his heart, but dissembled, and said 
with smiling lips, ** Sir, I will do my best** He left the 
presence of the king, and gave orders by sound of trumpets 
that every one should arm himself in hia best Lother and 
his comrades prepared themselves immediately with the 
greatest speed, and put their horses and furniture in the 
best condition. 

Then Otto called his armour-bearer, to whom he said, 
'^ Go to my cousin, and say I am grieved from my heart 
that I have angered him. I have followed evil counsel, 
but I am now ready to beg him for mercy's sake only once 
more to help me in my need. King Orschier has given me 
his standard to bear in this great war; but this it will 
never profit me to do ; my cousin can undertake it better 
than I, for he is a brave and valiant knight ; it is more suited 
to him than to me. If he will only chu^e himself with thia 
banner instead of me^ I will willingly resign to him the 
maiden Zormerin, who has been betrothed to me by the 
king. I would much rather give up a woman than be obliged 
to head this great combat." 

^* Sir," answered the esquire, " this message will I willingly 
deliver ; it would be well if Lother did undertake the thing, 
for as far as I know of you, if you enter the fight, you wUl 
certainly let the standard fall, which would be a great shame 
and ignominy to the Christians." " That's true," said Otto. 
Thereupon tiie soldier went from him straight to Lother, 






3dO LOTHEB A2n> MATJ.KB. [CB. Vm. 

and delivered the message with much gnkvitj. He took 
Lother aside, and said to him, ^ Your cousin Otto sends me 
to jou ; he begs your pardon for having offended you ; he 
has therein followed evil counsel* and it now grieves hinu 
He desires very much that you should be reconciled to him, 
and if you will forgive him he will amend his conduct towards 
you ; and in order to do you honour, he will begin by giving 
up to you the banner which the king has intrusted to his 
guardianship, and he will yield to you the beautiful Zor* 
merin, whom the king has betrothed to hiniy and all the 
honours you may desire besides. Consider this proposal 
well, dear sir, I entreat you as a friend.'* ^' Tell my cousin,** 
said Lother, *'I bear no ill-will to any man, especially not 
agunst him ; I hold him for a prudent man, and he is tJso of 
noble birth. If King Orschier has intrusted his banner to 
him, it is doubtless in good keeping, especially against the 
pagans, and if he has bestowed upon him a wife I have no 
desire to take her awav from him : God give him with both 
much happiness and joy ; I wish it him with all my heart, 
and he would be very wrong not to do his best for the sake 
of such great good fortune. Say to my cousin also, in mj 
name, that since the king has confided his banner to him, he 
must see to it well that he does not let it fall ; for if he does, 
I will strike his head of^ or should I not be near at that mo- 
ment, I will send my comrade Mailer to do it. This answer 
bear to my cousin from me." 

The esquire was much troubled that he could obtain no 
better answer; but Otto was most pitifully terrified whea 
he received this message. *' Ah I miserable wretch that I 
am!** he cried out ; ** I see well my hour is come: I must 
fight, though against my will, and, worse still, must be the 
foremost and lead on others when I would rather by far be 
the hindermost." 

The king mounted his horse, took the banner in his hand^ 
and presented it to Otto; the latter received it, and rode 
onwards with about thirty thousand Christians. Lother rode 
next to him; he bore on his helmet a silken sleeve, em-* 
broidered with gold and with golden spangles, which Zor* 
merin had given him. She had ascended a tower from which 
she could see the fight ; she knew Lother well by the sleeve, 
and as for Otto, she prayed to God with her whole heart that 
he might never return again. 


When the pagans saw the army of the Christians ad- 
vancing towanis them they drew up in battle-array, and a 
terrible onslaught began ; they fought furiously against the 
Christians, and slew all that came before them. When Otto 
saw that the infidels fought with such exceeding cruelty, he 
dropped the banner from terror, and shouted to his men, 
** Dear comrades, I shall stay no longer here ; I will ride 
home into Lombardy, for I feel great anxiety lest these hea- 
thens should slay me. I could not possibly remain here, 
even though King Orschier gave me another kingdom besides 
his own." " Grod confound you," cried his comrades in le- 
turn. ^' You disgrace all Lombiirdy, and if we desert a bad 
master may Grod forgive us, for you will have to ride off 
alone." King Fynart now advanced nigh to the fiank, whence 
Otto was fleeing ; and as he saw the king thus approaching 
him, he cried out with a loud voice and uplifted hands, " Do 
not kill me, gentlemen, I will willingly deny €k)d and believe 
in Mahomet** 

Then he was taken prisoner and led into a tent, and King 
Pynart began the combat afresh. The Christians were con- 
founded at the fall of their standard. "Alas, alas!" cried 
King Orschier ; " cursed be the hour when I received this 
Lother at my court, and so trusted him ; this day has he acted 
towards me like a false traitor." The infidels, on the con- 
trary, were highly elated, for when a banner is lost on one 
side the opposite party are proportionably delighted* 

King Orschier fought valiantly notwithstanding; but as he 
pressed rather too forward in the fight, there came the pagan 
king Helding^ and struck him from his horse ; immediately 
thereon the infidels surrounded him, and led him away cap- 

When the Christians saw their king taken prisoner they 
thought themselves indeed in an evU plight, and no wonder ; 
an army may well be dismayed that has lost both its standard 
and its king. 

Lother fought boldly, and forced his way deep into the 
ranks of the heathen army ; Mailer and his comrades also 
failed him not. At length Lother espied the standard as it 
lay on the ground. " Mailer, dear comrade," cried he^ '^ now 
fight briskly round me, that I may stoop and pick up the 
standard." Then they both strndk out so furiously that 


they soon cleared a circle round them ; then Lother stooped, 
seized the banner, and let it wave in the wind ; but it had 
been greatlj soiled and torn under the horses' feet He 
handed it over to Mailer, and said, *^ Here display it high in 
the air;" which Mailer did, and then the Christian host 
exulted, and began the fight again with fresh courage. 
" Mary, mother of Grod, protect my beloved," cried Zor^ 
merin ; *^ he is the bravest knight that ever sat on a horse." 

Lother fought, until he came to King Fynart's standard. 
There he saw how four of the pagans were leading captive 
King Orschier, who was bitterly bewailing his fate. Lother 
immediately hastened thither, killed the four infidels, seized 
one of their horses, and gave it to King Orschier. '' Dear 
sir," cried he to him, ^' mount quickly, and see that you 
fight bravely." '^ Friend," replied Orschier, '' you have this 
day saved me from death ; to thee will I give my daughter 
Zormerin, and with her also my kingdom ; Lother of France 
has betrayed me very traitorously, and he shall never have 
my daughter.*' Hereupon he rode again into the fight, and 
Mailer brought to him the standard. *' Mary, mother of 
Grod," quoth he, *^who may this man be, who has again 
upraised the banner?" " Sir," said the attendants, ''the 
same man that set you free from captivity saved the standard 
also, and hotly has he worked for it" '' By my truth," said 
the king, '' I will well repay him ; I will bestow upon him 
my daughter, and, after my death, my kingdom. Is it not a 
grief, my friends, that he whom I so much trusted should 
thus have treated me? But for this good knight, we should 
all ere this have been slaughtered by the heathen foe." 

Zormerin continued to follow Lother with her eyes ; for 
she knew him by the sleeve upon his helmet. There she 
saw how ten thousand pagans had surrounded him and 
killed his horse ; she witnessed his fall, and that he never 
rose again. She saw that no one came to his assistance, but 
that he was taken captive after much resistance* 

When Zormerin witnessed this, she seized a knife, and 
would have stabbed herself to the heart ; but Scheidechin 
hurried to her side and said, '< Dear lady, bethink yourself, 
and pray Grod to preserve your senses." '' Scheidechin," 
cried Zormerin, '' I have seen the Prince of France struck 
down by infidels, and nobody went to his assistance. If the 


heathens have slain him, I will live no longer." Herewith 
she would have sprung over the battlements, had not a 
knight seized her and held her. " Dear young lady," said 
he, ''be consoled; keep yourself well and tranquU, your 
father is not slain.* 

THJB nutth chapter. 

Maller sought his lord over the whole battle-field. When 
he could hear no tidings of him, he rode to King Orschier. 
** Sir king," said he, " where is my lord and master ?" " By 
my truth," said Orschier, '* I know nothing of him." <' Thou 
false king, thus rewardest thou him who saved thee from the 
hand of the infidels ? Thou hast lost the best knight that 
is to be found in the whole country round ; for know that 
he is Lother of France. I can no longer be silent, and I 
think the year is nearly over. Otto of Lombardy has de- 
ceived both thee and him, for with his smooth words did he 
persuade my master to change names with him." 

** Now, truly, gentlemen," cried Orschier, '^ let us imme- 
diately seek Lother ; everything I possess I would give rather 
than lose him." Then they all rode out together to seek 
Lother, but could not find him ; at which the king and all the 
knightly host were much troubled, for all his comrades loved 
him, especially Maller, who was almost distracted with the 
excess of his grief. 

As night arrived. King Orschier returned again to Con- 
stantinople, and Zormerin came out to meet him. *' O father," 
said she to him, ''you may well grieve yourself that you 
have left behind him who saved you from the infidels ; you 
know not who he is." ''I know all, my daughter," cried 
Orschier ; " Otto the red-haired has disgracefully cheated me 
and you, and has, in addition thereto, wilfully brought shame 
upon his cousin ; but Grod will protect Lother, and may he 
prevent Otto from ever coming back here again." Zormerin 
wept loudly as she heard her &ther thus speak. After this 
they went to table ; but neither Zormerin nor Maller could 
eat for great sorrow. Now when the table had been removed, 
and each person had repaired to his chamber, Zormerin 
went to heir own apartment, and commanded JBibller to be 


called to her. They hoth sat together the whole night» and 
wept and lamented for their lord. ''Alaal alas!" cried 
Zormeriiiy ^ withoat my beloved I can no longer live ! " 
^ Maiden," said Mailer, ^ hear me ; I will dqwrt to-morrow 
early and devote my life to seeking for my loid. I know well 
how to imitate the ways of these pagans, and, I will so behave 
amongst them that they shall take me for one of themselves, 
and thus shall I hear whether my lord be alive or dead." On 
the morrow, as day began to break, he took leave of Zormerin, 
went to his inn, and called together his comrades. " Friends^ 
put on your armour,^ said he ; '^ I shall myself ride amongst 
the pagans, and never will I return till I have some news 
of my master. You know my horn well," said he further 
to them ; ^ I will lead you into the wood ; there shall yoa 
wait for me : when you hear me blow, then conte swiftly to 
help me." *^ That will we do joyfully," cried his comrades^ 
and they prepared and armed themselves with great haste. 

Mailer rubbed his face with herbs which he well knew, 
so as completely to change his complezioQ ; after which he 
rode out of the town with Ms companions. When they cama 
to a wood, Mailer desired them to await him there. '^ I 
shall myself ride on into the pagan camp," said he, << there 
to discover whether my lord is living or dead ; and if he yet 
live, know, all of you, I will set him free^ even should 1, in 
so doing, lose my own life." 

" Dear MaUer," cried they all with one voice, '^ we will 
await your signal here ; and doubt not that when it comes 
we will labour hard to win a guerdon from you ; each man of 
us shaU be worth two." " Comrades^" said Mailer, '^ I thank 
you heartily." Therewith he rode to the camp^ and committed 
himself with confidence to Grod and the Virgin Mary, his 
mother. He was turning over in his mind how he should 
contrive to gain intelligence of Lother, when a troop of 
the infidel army, returning from foraging, came towards 
him. He had so well coloured his £ace and hands, and knew 
so well the language and manners of these pagans, and 
imitated them so naturally, that they all took him for one 
of themselves. So he rode along with them into the camp. 
He inquired for King Pynart's tent ; and when it was pointed 
out to him, he sprang off his horse and w^it straight into 
the tent to the king. *<May Mahomet," said he, ^'who 


created all things, be pleased to protect my cousin "King 
Pynart, and maj it please him to curse King Oschier anl 
all Christians. Cousin, I am King Giordans, thy brother's 
son ; my father has sent me with twenty thousand men-at- 
arms to aid thee ; but King Orschier's men fell upon me in 
the wood, and they have slain all my company. With great 
difficulty have I escaped from them ; and if you will not 
avenge me, I will destroy myself.* Thereupon he beat his 
face, tore his hair, and showed such deep grief, that the 
infidels were foil of compassion for him. ^Dear nephew," 
said King Fynart, '^ calm yourself; tell me, how does my 
brother ? You are certainly my own nephew ; for I well 
remember that my brother has a handsome son of about your 
age." " Cousin, my father your brother is very well ; he 
desires, through me, most honourably to greet you, and I 
pray yon earnestly to dub me a knight, for on this I have 
set my whole heart Even therefore has my father sent me 
to you, that yon may make a knight of me. Oh dear cousin, 
avenge me of that wicked rascal Mailer, who has caused me so 
much disgrace, and who now only waits his opportunity to 
bring shame upon you also." '* Dear nephew, I shall not 
leave Constantinople until I have conquered tiie city, and 
then we will bum all the Christians ; but this Bfaller shall 
be hanged in the air." " Ah ! cousin, I can never forget the 
shame I have sufiered." '' Thou shalt soon be satisfied ; I 
have near eighty Christians in my power ; on these shalt 
thou revenge thjnself well." 

Mailer, falling on one knee, cried out, ^' Noble king, give 
me these Christians immediately, that I may revenge my- 
self upon them." ** Very willingly, my dear nephew, thou 
shalt have them, and mayest do with them what thou 
pleasest. You may fiay them and roost them for aught I care ; 
but first I will dub you a knight." Then King Fynart made 
Mailer a knight after the heathen mode. Mailer rose, seized 
his lance, and, after he had swung it round his head four or 
five times, threw it so far, that it could not be seen by the 
eye. <' In truth," said the pagans, ** this is a brave comrade ; 
when Fynart dies, we will choose him for our king." 
<' My nephew," said the king, *' so help me Mahomet, if I 
take Constantinople I will make thee king over this whole 
country, and I will take Zormerin to be my wife. I have 


vij proposed concerning her to King Oischier ; but the 
sweet-tooth denies her to me ; therefore will I take her 
ilf. King Orachier ehall hang like a thief in the air, 
thou shalt have the priaonera." 

I)en King ^rnart sent word that the prisoners should be 
ght before him, and the^ were idmost immediately 
ght thither. Lother was among them. When Mailer 
jired him, he was more joyous in spirit than if he hod 
ii a kingdom ; he pulled out his sword, and struck off 
[lead of one of the captive Lombards ; so did be with a 
id, and so also with a third. Otto was there likewise, 
n he saw how Mailer amused himself with the Lombards, 
ried out loudly, " King Pynart, I will willingly deny 
and believe in Mahomet ! " 

len Mailer seized him, and would have alain him like 
est ; bat King Helding cried out that he should let him 
" He is willing to believe in Mahomet," said he ; 
irefore you must not kill him. Besides, he ia my pri- 
: ; he yielded himself to me." 

3y Mcdiomet," cried Mailer, " so much the rather he 
Id die ; a bad Christian will never be a good Mahomedan." 
," said King Helding, "let us first try him; he must 
pie the Cross under fool, in order to insult Christ, 

we will circumcise him." "Nephew," aaid Pynart, 
not offend King Helding ; he came to my assistance with 
net one hundred thousand men." " Dear uncle," said 
er, " I am very much vexed that I must allow this rogue 
cape ; cursed be the mother who bare him." But the 
as agreed unanimously that Otto should be permitted 
'e, because he wished to become a believer in Mahomet. 
nller next went up to Lother and dragged him by one 
BO forcibly that he fell upon the ground, and then he 

him a few hard blows on the back. Lother sprang to 
^et, and in his indignation struck Mailer so hard a blow 
e mouth, that he knocked out two of his teeth, and the 
1 flowed from his mouth and nose. Then fell Mailer at 
Icnees of King Pynart, and said, " Noble king, let me 

up this rc^ue, who has treated me so ill I" "Do with 
what you please," said Pynart " I will have gallows 
eA," said Mailer, "opposite Constantinople ; there shall 
Christians see whom I will hang thereon. Seize him iia- 


mediately, and lead him out.'' Then was Lother seized 
without pity, and bound, and a rope thrown around hi3 
neck ; and he prayed to God with his whole heart to have 
mercy on his soul. 

The gallows was erected on the hill, opposite Constanti- 
nople, although King Helding disapproved of it. ^* When the 
Christians,'* said he, ^' see it, for they have cut away all the 
trees in this direction, that they may be able to observe every- 
thing that takes place, they may easily fall upon us, and 
occasion us great afiright" But Mailer insisted that the 
Christians should be able to see how Lother was hanged. 

When the horsemen in the wood saw the gallows erected, 
they prayed earnestly to God that no evil might happen to 
Lother or Mailer, and that he would prosper Mailer in his 
undertaking. They immediately mounted their horses, as 
they thought that now something must happen ; and, to be 
in readiness in case Mailer should blow his horn. Thus they 
stood all ready and eager for the fight. 

Mailer led Lother round to the gallows, and many of the 
infidels accompanied them. Lother sighed deeply, and said, 
"Oh, 2iOrmerinI oh. Mailer, thou true comrade! I shall 
never see you more ; to Grod Almiehty I confide you both I * 
Then Mailer cried in his heart to God, that he would come 
to their aid, for he saw himself single-handed and sur- 
rounded by enemies, and knew not how to set about the re- 
lease of his lord. As they came under the gallows, Lother 
prayed to God with all his heart that he would be merciful 
to his soul, and said, '' Heavenly Father, if thou but knewest 
how hard it goes with me, thou would'st indeed pity me 1 
Farewell, Zormerin, beloved maiden ! and thee, also, my true 
comrade, never shall I see thee more while here I live I Oh, 
Mailer, did'st thou but know whom the people intend here 
to hang> I know surely thou would'st come to my assistance, 
but I have lost thee ; and thee also, beautiful Zormerin ; 
the gallows will soon be ready, and never shall I more be- 
hold thee!" 

'* Listen, thou rogue," said Mailer ; '^ if thou wilt deny 
thy faith, and believe in Mahomet, then shalt thou live." 

** Never," said Lother ; ** lead me to the gallows, and 
give me only so long to Uve that I may have time to say my 
prayers." *< Unhappy man," began Mailer again, '^ wilt 

LOTmtR AND »"'""' 

thy faitt ?" — " Neverl" Lotber ^ 
as led awKj. Ualler when heMw 
souL " Set him free," said he to tl 
et him stand &ee while he piuyt. 
iua knees ; and when Uttller again 
is faith, he broke out thos, in a loud i 
. and Father, whosoeTer denies thee. 
1 does not believe, is no true man ; t 
1 and earth ; thou wast borne in thy i 
ion God and man, and thoa bast eu 
reast. O, Mary, mother of God, the 
the hill of Calvary, where he anfierei 
as he died upon the cross the ann n 
orth trembled ; then Lord didst thou 
ud ascend into heaven, and thou dida 
by Holy Spirit ; after that, thou calli 
owned her irith eternal life. Eternal i 
lis, so be thou to-day mercifnl unto me, 
ly holy keeping." With this Lother ai 
if the blessed crosB. While be was yet 
iwn Ilia born, and saw bis comrades rii 
armed ; then hastened he to Lother, ai 
a bis knees, anbonnd his eyes, and a 
V me, my lord, — I am Mailer, your c 
ring, it is Zormerin who sends it ; sb< 
you." Immediately that he bad said 
head of one of the infidels, snatched i 
'e it to Lother. " Here, here, take tbi 
1 defend yourself." Then both stru 
were around them. The infidels, w 
i thus betrayed by Mailer, ran t<^etb 
es ; in the meantime came also tho < 
)d to the place, and led witii them 1 
' and Mailer mounted quickly, and, w1 
, and sometimes turned and drove 1 
lastened towards Constantinople ; the 
after them. King Orschier stood on ' 
Tible chase in the field ; and, said he, 
nrho brings back Lother ; bestir yo 
we may go out to help them." 
jw his horn, and all armed themsel 

■. ^ ■•HA «J«i 


sallied with him oat of the city ; and now b^an a mighty 
contest When Orschier recognised Lother he rejoiced, 
rode up to him, and asked how he had got free from prison* 
*^ That will I tell thee another time,*' said Lother, *^ now it 
18 only a fitting time to fight." 

Therewith he hastened to the field, stripped off a dead 
man's harness, armed himself therewith, and also with a 
helmet and accoutrements, and rushed boldly at the infidels^ 
who defended themselves stoutly. 

In the mean time rode one away to the moat, and called to 
the princess, who watched from the tower, that Lother was 
alive and at liberty. Then she thanked God with hot tears, 
and prayed to the Virgin still to protect her beloved. The 
combat was fierce : King Holding ran tilt acrainst Mailer, but 
was by him overthrown ; Mailer's horse fell also, but they 
both rose again, and Helding fied. ** This day will I exter- 
minate the Christians !" cri^ King F3mart. *' I£ you had 
Lother and Mailer," answered the attendants, ''you might 
easily overpower them ; but both fight so bravely that no 
man can stand against them." King Pynart met Mailer, — 
for he well knew him by his shield. '' Villain !" cried he; 
" false traitor, would that thou wert hanged ; how darest 
thou, scoundrel, call me cousin ? " '' Dear sir cousin," replied 
Mailer, ** I never deny my relationship." Then King Pynart 
couched his spear and ran against him, and would have 
thrown him from his horse, but Mailer struck him so hard 
with his spear, that he pierced him through the body, so 
that he fell with great anguish to the earth. King Helding 
came then to King Pynart's assistance, else would Mailer 
soon have killed him outright. " Cousin," said Mailer^ '' I will 
always pray to Grod for him who struck you off^ your horse." 
"Ah me !" said King Pynart, " what sort of villanous re- 
lationship have I found!" Then he was led back to his 
tent, where he no longer found Otto, who had meanwhile 
escaped and fied back to Lombardy. 

When Otto reached home, he found the king his father 
dead. The people received him as their rightful lord, and 
be was crowned king. He did afterwards to his cousin 
Lother much and grievous injury, as we shall hear in the 
seqneL Little thought he of the great honour which had 
been done him in Lother's name, and still less that Lother 

B 2 


had shown him no malice, althongh he ba 
great evil npon him. Notwithstanding he hi 
wished him no good ; he swore also an oath b 
could do Lother or Mailer an injury he wo 
the opportnnily ; and he kept his oath, as yc 
When it waa now late, King Orschier i 
returned again into the city of Conatantinopl 
saw the army coming, she went to meet her f 
palace ; and when she perceiTed Lother she 
with love that she could not speak a word, 
the kisg, " I give you my daughter, who 
marriage." " Sire, I thank you very heai 
Lother ; " and since you have given her to n 
embrace her." Then went he straightway 
braced her, and kissed her with great tenden 
folded her in his arms, he said, " Beloved, thi 
Mailer, who has freed me from the infidels, 
sake done what no man ever yet did for aJ 
loved lord," said Zormerin, " had you died, 
could have happened to me." 

Then they went altt^ther into the sale 
took off his armonr, and they all sat down 
chier let Iiother sit by Zormerin, and his 
next to biin. When they had eaten, Mallt 
count how he had persuaded King Pynart ' 
cousin, and all that had happened to him in 
word for word. Thereat King Orschier begi 
all the people also laughed very much. 


The siege of Constantinople had lasted aln 
years, during which there had been numerc 
many battles, in which many men, both knigL 
lost their hves. Lother and Mailer bebavet 
bravely, so valiantly, and so truly, that th< 
renown, and every one held them dear. Tl 
out secretly and alone, attended only by th 
rettiiners, into the enemies' camp, and did th 
damage. These infidels had more hurt thro 


Mailer than from all the other soldiers taken together* 
Therefore did the pagans never forgive themselves that both 
had escaped out of weir hands, when they had already had 
them in captivity; they swore by Mahomet that neither 
Lother nor Mailer should be aUowed to live over the night 
if they could only catch them once more. 

But Zormerin was very anxious because Lother so often 
rode out She entreated him very affectionately that he 
would not adventure himself so much against the heathens. 
•* They will kill you certainly," said she, " for they hate you 
and Mailer more than all the others.'' '^ Grod will protect 
me, dear Zormerin," said Lother ; <^ I am here to seek ad- 
ventures, and I must therefore not neglect them ; shall I not 
revenge myself on these false infidels ?" ''I wish," answered 
Zormerin, '* that you would cease for my sake, for love of 
me." "Dear woman, for your sake wiU I cease from all 
evil actions, but must continue to perform every deed that is 


After three months, as King Fynart was again recovered 
from his wounds, came his daughter Synoglar, and 
brought fifteen thousand armed men in her suite. Synoglar ' 
was the most beautiful pagan of her time. Pjmart was full 
of joy when he saw her ; he ran to her, embraced her, and 
kissed her, and thanked her many times for coming to his 
assistance. '* Dear daughter," said he, " long since should I 
have taken Constantinople, were it not for a young knight 
therein called Lother, son of the king of France. A hand- 
somer young man is no where to be found ; if he would deny 
his God and believe in Mahomet, I would give him to thee 
for a husband. He is the most proper and, furthermore, 
the bravest man that ever sat on a horse ; he has twelve 
times overthrown me. If I had him in my power I would 
never leave him till he had consented, and would so urge him 
that he could not refuse to believe in Mahomet, and then 
should you be his wife." By this discourse Synoglar became 
deeply enamoured of Lother. She thought in her heart never 
again shall I be happy till I have seen Lother of France. 
King Helding was standing thereby, and heard the words 

s 3 


Pynart. He had loved the princess foi 
I I^art had fonnerly promised her to bim ; I 
sd forward and said, " Noble king, I have 
hundred thousand men ; they are at mj co«l 
tnd I will not forsake you nn^ we have t 
is I do for Tonr daughter's sake, whom you h 
me; but irlknenthtUyounowwilleduotto 
en would I to-morrow in the morning decs 
tod ride back to my own country." "ByM 
I ^nart, " dear Helding, I had quite forgot 
foa con give Lotber and Mailer into my hi 
re my daughter." This King Helding pro 
it would have been better for him if he haii 
re thought of something," said Synoglar, " 
,e of the two might certainly come into yoi 
e sun goes down." " Oh tell me how," said . 
uill have no rest till I have performed it." 
'self," said Synoglar ; " mount your horse, fa 
id let me, adorned and richly dressed as tx 
lughter, ride on another horse by your side 
;o to tiie moat by the wall. If Lother n( 
father says, and he sees me with yon tttU 
manner, he will certainly come out, hecau 
ideus most people are eager to gaze upon, 
se heart has no love for beantifnl women is 
he iight. By Mahomet, I know for certa; 
>es me BO magnificently adorned and so beat 
ily come out, and it shall coat him his life. 

attack him I will help yon with my dag 
m in the back until we have overpower* 
will aid me," said King Helding, " I promi 
you even to the death : I go now to arm n 
,B0 and prepare." 

he was armed, and Synoglar magnificently 
■■ out of the camp to a hill, an arrow's flight : 

as they looked round this hill, and could se 
lley, they rode quite close to the dtj walls. 
id Helding to Sync^lar, " that you forget 
hen I come into the struggle with Lother' 
a us as soon as be discovers you ; of that I 
there was never a braver knight, nor a mor 

I u 


youth. Your father took him captiye, but Mailer, his com- 
rade^ set him free with exceeding craft. Had he not thus 
escaped, your father would, nevertheless, not have killed him, 
but would have kept him at his court, on account of his 
beauty and courage.** As Synoglar heard the knight speak 
thus of his enemy, she felt the latter becoming more and 
more dear to her heart. '* Ah," thought she in her mind, 
*^ that the young man would but come out, and assuredly he 
will, since he is a% bold a hero. When he has overthrown 
Helding I will follow him, deny Mahomet, and accept the 
Christian faith. How could I obtain a better man or a hap* 
pier fate than with this hero? Helding thinks I shall help 
him, but cursed may I be if ever I raise a hand against the 
handsome young knight !** ^ Of what are you thinking, beau- 
tiful maiden ?" asked Helding. *^ Let us now," said Syn<^lar, 
'^ ride nearer the walls ; there cry with a loud voice that you 
have here your betrothed, and that were Lother of France a 
gallant knight he would come out to win her away from 
you." ^' Do not forget your knife," said Helding. ** Don't 
trouble your mind about that," answered Synogliur. 

Then cried Helding with a loud voice, ^* Where art thou, 
King Charles's son ? Come out and win firom me my beau- 
tiful beloved!" Those who were on the walls went to tell 
this to Lother; and when he mounted the walls, he saw the 
pagan king with the beautiful maiden. ^ Lother of France," 
said Helding, " come out and break a lance with me, if thou 
hast the courage, for the sake of this beautiful maiden." 
*' Who is this fair damsel," asked Lother, ^^ so magnificently 
arrayed ?" " She is King F^art's daughter ; her father baa 
betrothed her to me, but I must not take her for my^wife, so 
have I promised her father, until I have fought with you, 
body to body, if, indeed^j^ou are bold enough to adventure 
yourself against me." '* Wait for me there," answered Lother ; 

I will arm myself." ** Make haste then," cried Helding. 

Lother went in haste to the palace ; here he found King 
Orschier and MaUer. He hurriecQy laid the case before them 
how the pagan was come to break a lance with him, and how 
he had accepted the challenge. *' I am sorry for that," cried 
Orschier, alarmed. " Sir," said Mailer, '^ Let me go out and 
fight with him, it is not fitting that you should." '< That I 
will never permit," said Lother; *^ bring hitiier my armour 

% 4 


I to put it OD." Zormerin, whi 
thtUier, and wept bitterl;. Sbt 
oate words that he would not 
1 hitnaelf not to be detained 
fher, and uUied out in front o 
Iding saw him coming he said 
he who ought indeed to be ai 
ia that Lotber of France, who 
'onr father in battle, and bu i 
pra7 ^u, maiden, be pleased 
come into distress with him.' 
many other knights stood on tl 
ormerin also went up and wepi 
n I," said Lother, when he ca: 
ready to run a coarse with you 
ike me as a prisoner, but if ] 
ksel returns to the city with me 
le, since it concerns a beaati 
lur high words," said Helding 
grand, gain no victories." Li 
so did also King Helding, an 
against the other. Helding'a 
ore pressed by Lother that he 
. Synoglar ran np to him, and 
^If, thou false man, be so 
lou by Mahomet — surely thoi 
At these words she palled ov 
pierced him with it, but Loth 
Helding, *' Mount, sir, for I m 
." Helding ogtun mounted h 
struck at him. Lother covero 
lb wise that Helding thrust a f 
:he shield. Lother etmck at I 
m in the shoulder, so that i 
B Synoglar happy in her ho 
Lother, " have no mercy with 
him, I will, for the love of jt 
u, abjure Mahomet, and honon 
h his mother who bore him." 
ler heard and rejoiced at ; he ai 
txsh Other, and both muntainea 


At last Helding smote so hard Lother's horse, that it foil 
down dead. Lother sprang up again, wounded Helding in 
the left side, and said, '' Come down now from your horse, 
or I will slay you.'* " I will dismount," said Helding, " if you 
will not molest me until I am down." Lother stood still 
and said, *' You may get down in security ; I will do nothing 
to you till then.** ^' Then am I safe from thee," said Helding ; 
*^ for I do not choose to dismount until I am in my tent. 
Mahomet be with you I I leave you my beloved, the Lady 
Synoglar, who has treated me very ill, and I will get my hurts 
bound up, for I am very much wounded." 

With that he turned his horse and rode fast away. Syno- 
glar remained alone with Lother. ^' Thou hast a coward's 
heart, thou false pagan," shouted Lother after him; '<! 
should not have believed it of you." 

Lother took Synoglar kindly in his arms, and said to her : 
" Beautiful maiden, do you desire baptism with all your 
heart?" ''Yes, indeed, answered she, ''with my whole 
heart." Lother mounted her white palfrey, and seated her 
behind him ; and while they rode into the dty, they conversed 
amicably together. " Dear sir," said she, " I heard so much 
said of your valour and beauty, that I could not overcome 
my desire to see you. My father had promised me to 
Helding as a wedded wife, if he would conquer you and 
Mailer, and put you both into his hands. Then made I the 
cunning device that Helding should ride out and take me 
with him ; but I only desired to see you." Lother answered 
her with a smile : " For this much I thank you, fair Syno- 
glar, that vou could devise such a deep scheme* Helding ought 
to have fought more boldly ; he must be heartily ashamed 
of himself to have suffered so lovely a young lady to be so 
Easily conquered from him." 


KiKG Obschieb, Mailer, and all the knights went out to 
meet them, and received Lother very honourably ; but Zor- 
merin remained behind. She grieved herself, because he 
brought in another young lady, and she fancied he would 
now love that one more than her. She went mournfully to 
her chamber, and commanded Scheidechin to come to her* 

$4$ uymwR and kallxb. 

" Oh, m; desr Scheidechin," smid she, wee^n^, 
Bhonid I ever hmve seen Lother ; vherafora hari 
lore for him, md gives him mj whola heart? 
him many Idndnesaes ; but noir doe* be deserl 
pleased with a pagan. She is heaalifal, am 
daughter as well as I am, and laea are ever m 
with the new love than with the old I Oh, dear £ 
thoB hare I now, aa this very day, lost him vrboi 
tenderly I" "Dear lady," answered Scheidechi 
I do not Bospect Lotber; he is, without donbt, 
man under the sun : besides he is much too wi 
sible, and knows very well that through yon be t 

nt honour and adTontage, that I am oertain hi 
nything which can cause you tronble or son 
has won the beautiful maiden with bis sword, he 
deserving of the more pnuse and greater honon 
of s truth that he will baptise her and then give 
of his comrades. Shonld it, however, so chance tl 
a month or two with her, that might be permitb 
cause he is yet onmarried ; she would come to 
yon neverthelesa would remain his wife." 

"No," cried out Zormerin, " I wiD never bear 
I will complain to Haller in my extrrauty.' I 
went and caUed Haller to her lady, and he came t 
dialely. "CA Haller!" said Zonnerin, "thewom 
ber mind upon any man, acta foolishly. Zxither 
for the sake of a pagan, — that you may readi^ 
before has he returned from the fight withont coi 
diately into my chamber ; but this time he comes 
fm^ottm me, although I have shown him such 
nees. Cursed be the hour when I helped him ont 
andcarsed the fountain and my ears alao, becanse 
your words 1" "Dear maiden, compltun not so 
my master ; he ia in truth the truest man in all C 
He has won with Ms sword an infidel maiden ; t 
nothing to reproach him with, becanse he remai 
till she has received baptism; be aasured, thai 
she is baptized he will give her to one of his co 
yon permit, I will speak thereof to Lother, becat 
not be well that yon should barbonr any sasiri 
loBU I know of a truth yon will find no aoM 


my lord.** Mailer took leave of her, and she remained in 
her chamber. 

Zormerin's heart was consumed with love. And any hn* 
man heart thus inflamed will never want cause for anxiety. 
She sent Scheidechin to Lother, and commanded him to be 
summoned ; he came instantly, thinking no ill. ** Lother,** 
said she, *'are you not contented with me, that you have 
also taken King Fynart's daughter, and love her more than 
me ? " '* I never desired King Fynarf s daughter,** answered 
Lother, <' and never can I love another woman as I love you, 
and no other have I ever so loved.'* He tock her then in 
his arms and kissed her tenderly, and sat down near her on 
her couch. Then came King Orschier, with six knights of 
her retinue, into the chamber ; she had so concerted with him 
before she sent to call Lother. As now the king saw them 
both lying near together, then spake he : *' Truly, Sir Lother, 
you are much in haste ! Will you, after doing your pleasure 
with my daughter, ride back to France and leave her in 
disgrace and me in affliction? By God, who created me, 
if you don't now marry my daughter, I will lay you there 
where you never again shall come to daylight.** Lother 
sprang up and said, '' Noble king, what I have done to your 
daughter, may well be permitted me, because you have be- 
trothed her to me and promised that after the war I shall 
lead her to the altar. Therefore if it please you that this 
take place now, I can wish myself no greater good fortune, 
and I am ready immediately with all my heart." " That 
rgoices me," said the king ; '^ we will no longer defer the 
ceremony, and to-morrow early yon shall be wedded to each 
other in the church * Lother was full of joy at this ; he 
would rather that it should happen thus soon than that he 
should wait even another day, for 2k>rmerin could not sigh 
for him more ardently than he longed for her. 

The next morning the bidiop espoused Lother to Zormerin 
in the church, and blessed them, and thereat both rejoiced 
with all their hearts, for they loved each other very dearly. 
At the same time Mailer also was espoused to Scheidechin. 
When they had come out of the church, they went to table ; 
every one was joyous, and the town burghers felt especially 
delighted that tiiey were to have a lord so brave. After the 
feast^ began a great tilting and running at the ring; costly 


nonours were bestowed on knights and nobles ; in all points 
each did his best, and exerted himself to merit the reward. 
Lother and Mailer ran at the ring and tourneyed all the daj, 
and overthrew manj proud knights : none durst hold the 
barrier against them or joust with them. " Mary, mother 
of God," said King Orschier^ ''what two stout heroes are 
these I they alone make the barrier too narrow for all the 
others ; my daughter, indeed, is well protected, and she and 
Lother are, moreover, a lovely pair ; a more beautiful wedded 
couple one could not easily find." His servants, knights and 
nobles, very willingly agreed with King Orschier in this. 
All were full of mirth and hilarity, except Synoglar; she 
was very sad, because she had fixed all her hopes on Lother's 
taking her for a wife. Lother went to her, and consoled 
her as he best could. "Dear maiden," said he, ''do not 
grieve $ you shall be weU taken care of. Remain with my 
wife until I can find you a rich husband.'' " I thank you," 
answered Synoglar ; " but hope is gone, and now must I leani 


When the wedding festivities were with great mirth and 
joy brought to an end, the Christians again armed themselves, 
fell with fresh courage upon the heathen host, and fought that 
day so valiantly, that the enemy were entirely routed, and 
King Pynart and Holding lost their lives. Those who could 
save themselves fied and vacated the country. The rich tents, 
with much noble furniture, money, and property, became 
the spoil of the Christians. On that day were one hundred 
thousand pagans slain; nevertheless much Christian blood 
' must also have been shed, for the heathen fought bravely 

Lother remained in Constantinople until the seven years 
were over during which his father had banished him ; when 
these were expired, he told Zormerin that he wished to re^ 
turn to France, that he might stand before his father. 

Zormerin was vexy gliMd of this : Lother went to King 
Orschier, and begged permission to depart with his daughter 
into France, because his years of banishment were ex- 
pired. "Assuredly I will permit it," said Orschier; " only 
you must promise me to return again to Constantinople^ 


when you have seen your father; thereto I entreat you 
aSectionately, for, after my death, you shall reign over my 
dominions and be emperor of Constantinople." " Dear sir," 
said Lother, " I wiU, before one year is past, be with you 
again." Then they made all ready for the journey ; Lother 
and the beautiful 2x>rmerin, her beloved maiden Scheidechiuy 
with Mailer his faithful comrade^ besides all their retainersy 
took leave of King Qrschier, who gave his daughter his bless- 
ing. He saw her not again until she had endured great 

They set forth together, attended on their way by about 
one hundred men-at-arms. When they came to Rome, the 
pope showed them much honour, and they remained there 
for four days* Then Otto heard, through a spy, that Lother, 
with his wife, as also Mailer and the rest, were on their way to 
Paris, and would take the route through Pavia. Upon which 
Otto devised the greatest treachery that ever was heard of: 
he assembled twenty thousand armed men, and made tiiem 
take possession of all the roads by which Lother and his 
company would traveL 

'' Sir," said Mailer, ** let us rather not pass through Pavia, 
or at least let us be in proper array and well armed, because 
Otto^ the knave, who is become king of Pavia, is not very 
well to be trusted*" Lother said he was right ; and they sSl 
put on their armour. But they were watched by a spy, who 
had been sent by Otto, that he might have certain intelli- 
gence of Lother and his suite. This spy rode in haste back 
to Otto, and brought him tidings how Lother and Mailer, 
with their wives, were on the road thither, and only a very few 
people with them, " but," said he, " they hav^ all armed them- 
selves. Thus much I saw from behind a hedge where I had 
concealed myself; therefore be on your guard, sir king." " By 
my troth," said Otto, " their armour shall help them little, 
because I will send so many men against them,»-indeed, ten 
to one shall go. Now will I avenge myself upon them: 
Lother and Mailer shall hang on the gallows, and Zormerin 
wiU I take for a wife." With that he rode attended by all 
his knights into the wood, through which Lother must travel 
on the road thither ; and this came to pass very soon. When 
they appeared, Otto^ with ^y^ thousand men with spears in 
rest, ran fall tilt against Lother ; and now may Grod take him 

>roteetioD, both him uid 
Serii^ Await them both ! 
bed npon him with tT«inei 
cried tfiey, " thou shall m 
Lhoa die!" and tberewitl 
ts wolves upon a flock of 
\y spnng down instantly 
looe into the wood and I 
onded the carriage, uid ! 
iind her not. Then the; 
1 the women. Lother f< 
ind bore himself like a h 
him, 80 that he fell with L 
ided him, and after he ha^ 
im prisoner by force, 
lied at least twenty of the 
Toasly wonnded ; fail tbir 
IS deadly ; his horse also 
iray and lay like a co 

bound like a robber, ai 
Paria. His heart was sor 
he power of bis most base 
bed deeply when he the 
commended them to God 
>ok himself to his palace 
lished koights, and asked 
) with Lother, and how h< 
Fas doabtful whether to 
should make him suffer. 
da before Otto, and said, " 
lid be very ill done if you 
ssh and blood. Besides, L 
warriors that ever was b 
id any grievance tfaroogh 
It deserved death. If y 
ir of it, neither you nor 

with him, and you m 
erefore, sir, shut him up 
im as harshly as you plea 
then never follow my cov 


be an J one in your court whom mj counsel diBpleases, let him 
saj so boldly^ and I will fight with him." 

The Lombard who spoke was of high family. He himself 
had formerly served Lother's father, the Emperor Charles, 
and had been with him at Marseilles, where he helped him 
to take prisoner the Count Granebn ; on this account Otto 
was obliged to respect his words and follow the advice. 
Lother was, therefore, thrust into prison. 

Otto sent for the captive women, and when Zormerin was 
not found he was greatly vexed. "Where is your lady,** 
said he to Scheidechin ? " Sir," answered she, " fourteen 
Lombards led her away; thus much I saw — I wist not 
whence they came nor who they were ; but I fear greatly 
they will bring my lady to shame and dishonour." Otto 
was inwardly troubled at this information, and commanded 
the women to be taken to a separate apartment, where a 
sufficiency to eat and drink was placed before them. To 
Lother also was sent a leech, to cure his wounds. 

Otto sent round messengers, as far as Lombardy extends, 
to seek Zormerin, but she was not to be found. Then was 
Otto very enraged, because his plan had so failed ; for what 
he had principally desired was to get Zormerin into his power. 
Lother was now, by the aid of the leech, recovered from his 
wounds, after he had suffered much anguish. But he grieved 
and lamented inwardly for Zormerin, because he knew not 
otherwise but that she had fallen into Otto's hands. 

He mourned more for Zormerin than for himself. 


We leave Lother awhile and turn to Mailer, his comrade. 
He revived again from his swoon, and as he raised his head a 
little and looked about, nothing found he but the dead above 
and around him. He crept with much pain from under the 
dead bodies, and into the wood. Here he sat down, and as his 
wounds bled profusely, he pulled off his jerkin, and tore his 
shirt into bandages, with which he bound up his wounds as far 
as it would go. Then he looked about and discovered a horse, 
which had run away from the fight. With great pain and 
difficulty he reached the horse^ mounted it, and rode slowly 
through the wood. 


idd«n long when be p< 
1 awaj swiftlf when A 
she ran away all the i; 
n," said Mailer, as loud 
I swear hj laj knightl 
l(»inerm was the fngitii 
I voice she stood still, i 
lie said, " dost thou bri 
' Tea, dear lady; my lo; 
lOpe Otto is not daring i 
me G«d, when my wou 
pay for it with his kin 
It to have fonud you, w 
lave taken any kingdo 
lore King Charles's aid 
us Otto. Yet I suffer k 
and more I shall die i 
be comforted : I will fei 
will help you and alsi 
revenge us on the fal 
I much harm, I have 
il escapes not his pun 
I for Grod's assistance." 
had the protection of 1 
wounds, and suffered a 
i great spear wound w 
gave him bitter onguisl; 
y slowly on, and arriv 
they went into an inn, 
, for nearly four months 
lought each hour that & 
bett«r, and after four n 
rted. All that they had, 
way poor and barefoot 
'. turn with soothing w( 
France, and how she i 
Mailer comforted her 
r would set Lother free 
s on the infamous Otto 
ifg^ oae another ; but 
bid no help from his kii 



Whek Charles the emperor felt that he was about to die, he 
sent throughout the extent of his kingdom for all his nobles, 
and the whole bodj of his knights, and payed what he owed 
them ; then went he into the church of St Kilian, where he 
confessed, and commanded a noble mass to be sung. As history 
informs us, the priest found on the altar a letter, wherein 
was written a sin which the Emperor Charles had committed 
but had neglected to confess. The priest showed the letter 
to the emperor, who acknowledged and confessed immedi- 
ately that same sin, and thanked God with all his heart for 
this grace. 

The Emperor Charles shortly died, and his son Ludwig 
was chosen and crowned as emperor, after he had taken for 
a wife Blanchefleure, the daughter of the Count de Nar- 
bonne. King Ludwig had not been long at Paris when 
Zormerin and Mailer arrived there. Mailer went immedi- 
ately to the court before King Ludwig, who was surrounded 
by the grandees and nobles of the kingdom ; among them 
was the brother of his wife, to whom he had given great 
wealth, so that he had become very powerful. Mailer had 
on a tattered coat, and his whole appearance was very 
wretched ; therefore would none of his former acquaintance 
recognise him, but treated him with contempt. " Accursed 
be the wicked kingdom," said Mailer to himself, " since a 
rich rogue will here have greater honour done him than is 
bestowed on the righteous man who is poor. Eternal God, 
why is every thing thus changed on earth?" 

Mailer fell at the feet of the king, who had not even so 
much as noticed him, because he saw him in such a wretched 
condition. '^ Sire," began Mailer, '* methinks you wish not 
to recognise me, although you formerly knew me very welL 
and I have still many kinsmen at your court ; but now I 
am poor, nobody knows me* I am called Mailer, King 
Galyen's son, and was brought up at your court, with your 
broUier. I went away when his father banished liim." 
^ Dear Mailer," answered the king ; " yes, indeed, I know 
you now. If you will stay with me at the court, and enter 
my service, you shall be treated as my other servants." 
^* Sire," answered Mailer^ '* it would be a wonderful thing 

A A 


for me to serve thee, sedng that I aUo am a k 
And at the eame time, in hia heart thought he, i 
relation is this, that he aska me not at onoe after I 
of whom I have ipoken to him ; not once does b 
to know whether he still livee, or whetiier he ia ( 
I such a brother forsooth, I wontd banish him 
shoald not come back again for a thousand ^eai 
upon he said, " NoUe king, why have 700 sach a 
mind towards your nearest of kin? Truly, me 
haye but small lore for yonr own brother, whc 
misfortune and misery, and throogh your traitoi 
languishing in fetters, while you live in peace a) 
king and emperor!" Then he related to King 
that had happened to Lother since his banish 
af^er he had particularly reported every thing, j 
for assistance, and that he would help Lother c 
tivity, and revenge him on the faithleu Otto. 

King Lndwig would willingly have delivered 
and sent men to bis sseistance, but there lived at ti 
the false traitors who had bo long been Xx)ther': 
these took King Ludwig aside : " Sre," said 
your brother alone; he never did any good. Yc 
knights he has all afironted on account of women 
reason yonr father, as you may remember, banisb 
seven years from the land ; if yon receive him 
at your court, yon will never have peace or quiet 
nobles. Think also that you will then have to 
him the paternal inheritance ; if he comes age 
certainly be either king or emparor." " By my 1 
the king, "you speak the truth. Otto aiso hns, 
imprisoned him on account of his evil ways. Ma 
tinned he, turning to him, "my Mends advise n 
no WOT into the land on my brother's account. 1 
always live after his own mind, be wotild never si 
to my lather ; he has probably in like manner i 
cousin Otto, and so it is just that he should p 
therefore. Although he has imprisoned him, he 
him enough food to eat. For myself, I will never 
mour in order to help him out of captivity, where 
well ; in this I will follow my counBellorB." " Thoi 
you such advice are Utorough trtutors," retorf 


indignaDtlj. '^ It is grierous that jon will not come to the 
help of jour own natural brother. Otto has, like a fonl 
traitor as he is, imprisoned him unjustly !* Herewith Mailer 
turned about, and went out. IQng Ludwig called after 
him, to ask whether he would not breakfast with him? 
'^ Nevermore!" cried Mailer; "I will rather go fasting to 
bed, than eat with traitors." This Mailer spoke very boldly. 
He had not yielded at all to King Ludwig^s pleasure, for he 
was as great a king's son as Ludwig. 

He went back then into the inn to Zormerin. ''Lady," 
cried he, full of indignation, " in Ludwig I have found the 
most faithless man that ever lived. He leaves his brother in 
his need, and follows the advice of false traitors. May Grod 
curse him therefore ! Oh Grod, I fear much that Lother will 
never again be set at liberty." Zormerin wept. " Oh, un- 
happy that I am !" said she ; '' did ever any woman endure 
what I must suffer ? Cursed be the hour in which I was bom ! " 
" Worthy woman," began Mailer, "let us again return to 
Constantinople to your father. I will beg him to remember 
the great fidelity Lother showed towards him ; that he may 
come to his assistance, who never deserted him in his need 
against the pagans. I shall then see whether truth is still 
to be found on the earth." 


Thet left Paris and travelled many days. Of their journey 
I shall say only that they came again into Lombardy. Then 
did they both take good counsel together, how they should 
best disguise themselves, in order to travel unknown through 
the country. Zormerin sold her fine furs which she wore, 
and bought herself a lute therewith, for she could play very 
well on that instrument. Mailer, who knew well how to find 
the proper herbs, stained himself and also Zormerin, both 
face and hands ; no one in this disguise could know them. 
" Mailer, dear comrade," said 2k)rmerin, when she saw how 
changed they both were, " let us go to Pavia, and there learn 
whether Lother is dead or alive. I beg you earnestly to do 
it, for no one will know us in this guise." " If you then 
will undertake the delicate task," said Mailer, "I willingly 

A A 2 

agree to jour proposaL Tou can, wil 
gain aa mncli as we may require, not fa 
King Otto shall find me in clothes besi 
70ur husband ; you shall be called Ma 
myself Dietrich." " So let it be," aaid 2 
only be quick ; let u8 baste with as littl 
Favia, that nre may hear of Lother." 

In the mean time, while these two n 
Lother lay in a deep dungeon ; bat enoui 
was given to him by Otto's command. ' 
to the holy Whitsuntide, and it so happ 
ment was brought to King Otto ; and, 
found it was a hand's -breadth too Ion, 
much abuaiug the tailor who had made 
berlains said, " Sire, you have for a lo 
of France in captivity, and he has nei 
Tet is he of high birth and your near I 
would be very proper for you to send hi 
is too long for you ; it will just fit him, 
than you are." " Be it bo," said Otto ; 

The chamberlain went with the ganc 
be found lying very unhappy in the du 
greeted him, and spoke to him with k 
King Otto sends you this robe, that 
lA>ther stood up, put it on, and it fit 
Then added the chamberlain a thotigli 
afterwards regretted. He said, namely, 
fits you as completely as if it had beei 
my master the lung it was a somewbai 
mean you by that? "cried Lother; "ai 
in the world, that Otto dares to send i 
him ? Oh ! must I endure this ? Ah mi 
degraded, I will never more desire eit 
Therewith he dofi'ed the garment aga 
pieces, and trampled it under foot. " Go 
chamberlain, " tell the dungeon warden 
drink any more; I will live no longer; 
food," The chamberlain was very grieve 
he went sadly to King Otto, and told b 
'and all that Lother had said. Then Otto 
pi^, and was sorry that tbe chamberlaii 


On the same day Zormerin and Mailer arriyed at Pavia. 
Thej went instantlj to the palace, and inquired of the porter 
whether they could be permitted to plaj and sing before the 
king, and if so, desired he would lead them into the banquet 
hall. The porter wished to jest with Zormerin, and would 
have kissed her on the neck ; but she turned away and gave 
him such a hearty blow, that two of his teeth fell out. Then 
the porter thought to play them false, and would not let them 
enter. This a knight witnessed, and took them under his 
protection, and led them both directly into the banquet-hall, 
where the king, with the whole court, many knights and also 
many beautiful women, sat at table. Otto little thought that 
Zormerin and Mailer were so near to him. Had he recog- 
nised them under their disguise, he would without mercy 
have slain Mailer ; for he hated him more especially. Zor- 
merin and Mailer moved on to the side where they saw the 
other minstrels, and sat down by them. Mailer immediately 
filled a drinking cup with wine, and drank it off at a 
draught. " God help thee," said the piper ; ** we see plainly 
you are one of us." When the repast was half over, the 
players stood up ; one piped, another played on an organ, and 
so that each in turn performed his part. At length Zormerin 
took her lute, and played thereon so sweetly and so well, 
that Otto kept his eyes continually fixed upon her. The lute- 
playing delighted him so much, that he made all the other 
players to cease, and listened only to her ; he said moreover 
to his servants, " Let the lute-player be richly rewarded ; 
for she has so pleased me, that I would not have her say of 
me that I am stingy or poor. These people wander about 
everywhere more than others ; and when they arrive at other 
places, I would that she speak well of my court." 

'^ Noble sir," said one of the knights, ^* it might be well 
to reward these musicians, so that they may publish your 
praises in other parts; but think of your cousin Lother, 
who is at this very moment a captive in your dungeon. He 
is your nearest of kin ; and if he had his right, he would be 
emperor of Rome. I have heard that your chamberlain dis- 
tressed him very much to-day on account of a robe ; in jus- 
tice, noble sir, you should not suffer him to perish so pi- 
teously. My advice is, that you send him good meat and 
drink ; let them bid him be of good cheer, for that his affairs 

A A 3 

wuh t( 
'ou sen: 
e mighi 

: in the 

jth ; for 
she sho 
rough g 
bful Mj 
wer, thi 
ethiB f 
if me? 

a and 
in here 

Qerin v 
le boltf 
^ of I 

md pre( 

OH. XYL] LOTHES and aiALLBB. 359 

and embraced and kissed her again and again, times innumer- 
able. *^ Kiss me, dear lord," said Mailer ; **for I love you more 
than all jour friends besides. Your father is dead, and 
your brother Ludwig is crowned king; the latter follows 
the counsels of your treacherous enemies, so that you must 
expect no consolation from him. It grieves him not at all that 
you lie here in prison. Your wife and I went to Paris ; but 
as I received such sorry comfort from your brother, I brought 
her hither, that we might learn how it fared with you ; and 
whether you were alive or dead. Then I willed to lead her 
to Ck>nstantinople to King Orschier. Let us speak to him, 
to besiege Pavia and destroy Otto ; King Orschier must aid 
us, if he remembers how you assisted him against the pa- 
gans. And now, dear sir, do you know anything of Schei- 
dechin my wife? Is she dead or alive?" '^ Dear comrade, 
she is not dead ; she was taken prisoner with the others, and 
led into the town; there she is indeed still. Zormerin, 
beloved wife, we have had but little joy in our marriage ; 
may God help us out of our trouble !" And now both wept 
aloud and moaned bitterly. Mailer attempted to comfort 
them. " You are wrong," said he : " that you have so much 
evil fortune is Grod's will ; so too can he soon turn your 
sorrow into joy. I wish only, for my part, that I had Schei- 
dechin my beloved wife with me; I would make myself 
very happj with her. You ought ^ forget your griefs now 
that you are together. I will go for a while into the little 
room, and leave you alone ; for I do not belong to you nor 
to your secret counsels." ^* Comrade," said Lother, " blessed 
be she who bore thee; those words God himself bade thee 

Thus did they tarry together long, until at length they 
heard the jailer coming, who unboltol the doors. The time 
was come when, with sorrowful hearts, Lother and Zormerin 
must part. Lother kissed Mailer on his mouth. *' Fare thee 
well, true friend ; work with your best strength, that I may 
come out of captivity." '* Be assured, sir, my heart will never 
be glad until you are out of this vile durance, and I will labour 
for it as much as possible,— I swear it by all the saints." Now 
again entered the jailer, who bid them withdraw. Zormerin 
could with difficulty restrain her tears or help betraying her- 
self; it caused her heart deep grief that she must now depart 

▲ A 4 


)tIieT behind. Eiog OtU 
rmerin a golden girdle, rii 
lays at hia court, and ti 
>ace tbe^ took leave of K 
im the town of Pavia. 
Ids, thej thanked God t 
md bad seen their belo 
sires and him etill to th 


now to Constantinople, 
xe, before King Orschiei 

she could not for teai 
ked at her, and for a Ion 
t last he kaew her. " 
1? It was wiOi difficul 
aw a queen in such circi 
it I gave you to Lother ! 
id Mailer, " Speak no m 
noblest knight that livei 
etter bom than ever wei 
1 remember the great fii 
now well that if he, ofl 
le pagans would have qn 
his fidelity, yon would : 
And now he b^an and I 

happened to him, and hi 
Y of Otto, lay in prison 
ng Ludwig in France foli 
elp his brother. " Thin 
leathens had taken you, i 
;ain. Have pity also oi 
im." " Then," answered 
lat his natural brother 1 

I then stand by faim ? 
) so heavy a war ? I si 
did not conquer, which i 
[ will not run the risk ; b 
hter ; she shall never so 


will find a richer prince for her than Lother." " King," cried 
Mailer, '' never more will I be joor friend ! When I can do 
you an injury, I will not neglect the occasion, but do you all 
the mischief I can. I swear eternal hatred to you, and declare 
war against you!" With that he rose and went straight- 
way out. 

Then went he to 2^rmerin, who sat mourning in her 
chamber, shedding many a thousand tears : she also had 
entreated her father for Lother ; but all was vain. '* What 
shall we do now, dear Mailer?" cried she, weeping. ** I shall 
go now to my father," said he, ^^ in order to pray him to 
help Lother. This is the last that I can do." ** Do so, dear 
Mailer, I will give you a good horse and a valise full of gold." 
" Grod will requite you, noble lady," he replied. ^ Now I beg 
you, be constant and true." " You shall find no failing in 
me," said Zormerin ; " yet I wish I might live no longer ; 
for I fear greatly Lother will never again be free." Mailer 
wept when he heard her speak so sadly, and took leave of her. 
She had commanded that the best horse in the stable should 
be given him, and he immediately rode away from the city. 

Mailer was grieved from his heart. " Never," said he, as he 
came out into the country, ''no, never will I rest till I have 
set you free, my dearest lord." He determined now to go to 
his parents, whom he had not seen for so many years. He had, 
when a child, been found by Ogier of Denmark in the water, 
as the latter was going out with hawks to hunt for ducks ; 
whence he received the name of Mailer, which signifies in 
the Italian language the same as mallard, or *' enterich," in 
German. Ogier of Denmark resigned the child to King 
Charles of France; the latter having heard that King 
Galyen had lost his child, thought that this might be the 
same, and therefore sent him back unto King Gralyen, who 
brought up the child till the age when he could serve, and 
sent him then again to King Charles ; at his court he remained 
until he was twenty-three years old, when he accompanied 
Lother to Constantinople, and during the whole period he 
had never once seen his parents. 

Mailer had to pass in his journey through an imperial 
city. He was very well armed, but had no armorial bearings 
on his shield ; so when he arrived in the city, he rode imme- 
diately to a painter's house and had his coat of arms painted 


thereon ; viz. three heads of maidens^ gold oa an azore 
ground, above the heads a leopard, and in the centre of the 
shield a demi-lion. When it was finished, Mailer paid for it 
liberally, and rode on again as far as Champagne. Here he 
came to a large town with a beautiful castle, but he wist not 
to whom it belonged. While he was thinking to himself, 
there approached him a messenger carrying letters ; he spake 
to him courteously, and inquired the name of the town and 
of its lord. *' Sir," answered the messenger, " this town is 
caUed Neustadt, and belongs to King Galyen the invin- 
cible." At this answer Mailer was much rejoiced, and in- 
quired further of the messenger. ^'Whither goest thou, 
dear friend?" ^* Not far from hence, noble sir, to the castle 
there ; I must bring ten master-workmen, that to-morrow in 
Neustadt they may make preparations for the great tourney 
which is to be held there." ^* For what occasion is tiiis 
tourney to be held?" *' Sir, King Ansys* daughter, from 
Spain, win be married to Otger, the son of King Gkilyen. 
Whoever gains the prijee in this game shall have a beautiful 
horse, with a saddle and housings embroidered with pearls ; 
a more magnificent guerdon was never seen. Here shall 
we see assembled all &e fiower of chivalry ; on heralds and 
musicians also will great gifts be bestowed. A man may well 
tilt gladly for the sake of a beautiful woman ; and the maiden. 
King Ansys' daughter, of Spain, is so beautiful, that one could 
not easily find her equal in the world." 

Mailer left the messenger and rode on again towards the 
city ; he determined not to declare himself to his parents till 
he had tourneyed with ten of the bravest knights. Then he 
commended himself to God, to his blessed mother, and to 
St Julian ; this last is a saint, to whom people are accustomed 
to pray when they desire to find good quarters. As he rode 
into the town he saw numerous nobles, knights, squires, and 
many beautiful women. There was heard on all sides the 
sound d pipes, trumpets, and many-stringed instruments. 
" Eternal Giod!" said Mailer, '' I have by this time learned 
how miserable is the life of the poor man ; how many are suf- 
fering in wretchedness who have no property, while the rich 
are so pompously embellishing life. O God, how vain is all 
this ! Were it not for Lother my lord, and my beloved wife 
Scheidechin, whom I wish so much to deliver from captivity, 


I would abandon worldly honours and all pleasure and joy, 
— and would go alone into the forest, — there might I serve 
God, for there only shall I be certain of imperishable joys." 

He rode on again into the city, and sought in many places 
for an inn, but every one jeered at him, and bade him go 
further ; and he laughed in his heart, because he knew well 
that had he made himself known he would every where 
have found a lodging. At last he was received in a rich 
merchant's house. Here he saw that already every one 
who lodged in the house had placed his helmet before the 
window ; he begged also of his host to take care that his 
helmet in like manner should be hung outside the window, 
so that people might see he wished to tourney, and he pro- 
mised hun ten guilders for doing so. 

The host was greedy for the money, and commanded the 
servant at once to hang the helmet out of window. Mailer 
gave the servant a guilder, for which he thanked him, and, 
with a jesting air, added, " I will take good care of it, if 
you will promise to dub me a knight, should you to-morrow 
gain the prize, for I have a long time desired to be made 
a knight." Mailer answered, laughing, '* More than thou 
desirest shalt thou have from me." The servant took the 
helmet and hung it jestingly higher than the others, so that 
it was conspicuous to the eye. And thus jested the servant 
with him in all ways and at every thing that Mailer desired of 
him ; for he held him for a poor knight who was seeking ad- 
ventures, in order to gain somewhat. But Mailer laughed 
with the servant, and so well knew how to win him, that he as 
well as the host, soon for love of him did all that he required. 

Mailer went out into the city to walk about, and came be- 
fore the palace ; hither came Otger, his brother, and with him 
walked his father, King Ansys, and the Bastard von Ciine- 
ber. King Ansys* son. As Mailer saw all these princes 
coming, he asked the servants who they were ; and when he 
heard his father named, the tears came into his eyes. The 
princes made Otger observe Mailer, because he so perfectly 
r'sembled him. King Galyen, his father, approached him ; 
MaUer bowed reverentially. *' Tell me, dear comrade," said 
the king, ^ whence comest thou hither ? " '' SLr," answered 
Mailer, '* that shall you know to-morrow when the tourney 
begins. I am a poor companion; I seek adventures, and 

am come hither to obtaia a | 
God cnne Ibem that wo 
GialTen laughed and tnnied 
fool of a Tonng mail is thii, 
he answers not directly, and 

Then Mailer met his moi 
tbroagh his veins ; be wist 
her and make himself known 
TOW, that he would not m 
tilted against the bravest an 

The nobles snd ladies b 
chose the most lovelj wonu 
with her so beantifuUj, ai 
lightly with her, that alt tb 
and even the knights said, ' 
every thing he does become) 


Tbe next morning early 1 
which he had obtained fro 
square before the palace, wh 
the servant of the inn, nam* 
squire. First Mailer saw 1 
IQng Ansys' daughter ; as i 
the tourney. The princes 
with every one who might 
handsome gallery which hat 
There^ere full three hundi 
Mailer's mother, sat in the c 
and the women on both sidei 
loveliness, and grace were 
plenty also of pride and am 
had their lady loves there 
who wished in their hearts 
retnm alive from the toumi 
Mailer rode up to thoee m 
and demanded one also. Bt 
by a single serrant, they sai 
yoa come Of what eoui 


exposed to view?" "It was exposed to view,** answered 
Mailer ; " mj servant will bear witness to it.** But they 
would not believe him until two heralds, who accidentally 
stood by, swore thereto, and that they had seen the coat of 
arms the day before exposed for show. Now, at length, 
Mailer obtained a spear. He bore exactly his father's 
arms, to the half-lion. This last he had had added thereto. 
As he now rode into the lists, every one wondered ; even the 
great King Galyen was astonished to see a stranger bear 
these arms. The king spoke to him kindly, and said, *' I 
am surprised at the device you bear, comrade; you have 
exactly my arms, with the exception of the demi-lion. Tell 
me, therefore, whence hast thou them?" " Sir, I had the 
arms painted at my own pleasure, not therewith to offend 
you, but rather to honour and exalt you ; therefore I pray 
you, may I be permitted to tilt therewith ?" 

"What!" cried one of the knights; "thou arrogant 
sweet-tooth ! how darest thou to take upon thyself to bear 
the king's arms?" "Make not so many words," answered 
Mailer, " and be not so very indignant, I beg of you ; bring 
me one of your best comrades, and I will prove my right to 
these arms upon him !" King Galyen could not help laughing 
at Mailer's bold speech* " Comrade,'' said he, " you shall have 
permission to bear these arms under the condition that thou 
tiltest against a knight that I will send thee, and if then 
thou dost not do honour to them, I will treat you in such 
wise that the coat of arms shall be reversed until the up- 
permost shall become the lowest." "So be it, sire," an- 
swered Mailer, " yet I have first one request, if you will 
graciously permit me to ask it." " You have permission ; 
what is your request ?" "It is proclaimed that knights must 
break four lances before they can receive the reward ; I beg 
for myself to be allowed to break eight." The king, after he 
had agreed, rode away, and had himself armed. He put on 
an armour not known, entered the lists as a foreign knight, 
and demanded to tilt against Mailer, who was also, on his side 
immediately ready. They rode against each other. Mailer 
struck his father exactly in the vizor of his helmet, so that 
the helmet fell ofiP his head, and his lance was broken. The 
king could not save himself from falling. More than a hundred 
knights ran to him to raise him up again. Mailer could not 


e people that it 
bat he had nh 
\g forgireneas a 
he paUce, wher 
blet of wine ; b 
, and said to 
break with tl 
tiirow him dow 
xed upon the 1 
B- He also rot 
horsed bj him. 
hose who heard 
his son brongl 
mented for him. 
, who, already 
rd of the kin{ 
alyen, " I pray 
Sir," answered 
not propitiona 
I shall wait til 
n, made a aigna 
inite prepared 
than not win t 
hrough this to 1 
I their kinsman 
' so much the b 
liis friend he boi 
t, in all he did, < 
I Geon, so thai 
tirrnp, and he i 
ire. Then rose i 
9 sight, that the 
his brother, an 
at shall I nevei 
the world run 
heed not at all 
Id grieve me ve 
1 your bride mi 
in I not against 
1 a virtuous kni; 
nd me, we will 


you very much," answered Mailer ; *^ that may perhaps be 
done ; when I find a good master^ I serve him well." Then 
Otger rode away again. 

Mailer broke the eight spears in a knightly manner, and 
with splendid tourneying, although at the fourth he had 
ahready earned the prize, and the heralds had begun to cry 
out his praises and his triumphs with many noble words. 
Tet he was not thereby to be diverted from his purpose, till 
he had broken his eight spears altogether, and unhorsed 
eight knights. King Gralyen commanded his pipers and 
musicians to attend Mailer to his inn, and the heralds also 
preceded him with fine singing ; then Mailer had a fine re- 
past prepared of poultry, fish and venison, and wine in 
plenty, and regaled all who chose to come. 

While he was preparing every thing for his guests. 
King Gralyen came and brought the prize with him to 
the inn. It was a superb horse, on which was a golden 
saddle ; the stirrups were of silken web, with pearls and 
precious stones, beautifully adorned. Two queens led it; 
the one was the beautiful Hosamunde, Mailer's mother ; and 
the other King Ansys' daughter. King Ansys himself 
King Gralyen, and his son Otger, and many other princes, 
came with and followed the horse, as well as many beautiful 
women and brave knights. On the horse sat a noble youth^ 
who was clad in a silken robe, and adorned with costly 
jewels; on his head he wore a golden crown magnificently 
ornamented with precious stones ; and the two queens who 
led the horse wore also golden crowns, splendidly jewelled, 
and were clothed in rich robes. In such fine order, and with so 
noble a company, they went through the city to Mailer's inn. 
When Mailer saw them approaching his heart was glad, and 
he thanked God in silence. 

King Galyen said, " Sir, receive this reward ; you have well 
earned it by your knightly virtue." " That I have merited the 
reward," said Mailer, *' I thank God, in the first place, who 
gave me strength thereto, and next the beautiful woman who 
lives ever in my mind." Then he took a drinking-cup, and 
gave his father to drink, then his mother, then his grand- 
father, also called Galyen, and then lastly to his brother 
Otger. King Ansys took it ill that Mailer had given these 
four to drink before him ; he thought himself insulted, turned 


joing away. " I 
that I have gif 
or the first to w 
«nd, she who boi 
II whom my fatl 
my brother." "W 
bugged and kisw 
and cried, " 1 
rlea of France 1 
great ; Mailer iv 
aressed by bis k 
pressed through 
^or forgiveness, f< 
I, and ridiculed t 
[ler, "and there 
night, and gave 1 
LOSt he gave the I 
iived as the prizi 
God, to give hin 
romised ; and the 
ible, and they bi 
TO the table and i 
t they sat down to 
his request^ and 
kheidechin; he a 
d the treachery of 
11 never give mye 
a found aid for ni 
I," cried Mailer's 
or I," said King ' 
&nd srmed men." 
I help thee with i 
ig Ansys; "I v 
urch, in his neccf 
led; he thanked 
1 his knee befoi 
lat he had throi 
ingly and blessi 
! not leave off o 
kissing bim ; slie 
td all Bat gaily 


table, where thej ate and drank, and toasted one another, 
till Otger with his bride retired to bed. 

The next day the princes wrote letters, and sent them 
without delay into all their lands, that every one capable of 
bearing arms should get ready, and should then assemble 
with them. Mailer remained in the city, and urged them on 
that they might the sooner be in order, and all be the more 
quickly ready for the expedition. 


In the meantime Otto had heard that 2k)rmerin lived again 
in Constantinople with her father ; he sent, therefore, a very 
great embassy to King Orschier, and informed him that Lo- 
ther of France was dead, and if he would give his daughter 
Zormerin to him in marriage, then he, Otto, would become 
his ally, and help him with all his forces against the pagans, 
and if Zormerin gave him a son he should inherit the entire 
kingdom of Lombardy. 

King Orschier was well content with this proposal, received 
the ambassadors graciously, and invited Otto immediately 
to his court. The latter came without loss of time with a 
splendid suite, and with such wealth that every one won- 
dered at it. 

Zormerin was quite in despair when she was informed of 
what had happened ; she tore her hair and struck with her 
hands her beautiful face and white bosom. '^ Ah me ! un- 
happy woman," cried she, " will God never help me out of 
this need ? Oh Mary, mother of Grod, thou pure virgin, save 
me, that I may not be comjielled to give myself to that false 
traitor, and my soul to damnation." Thus she prayed, weeping 
very bitterly. Synoglar, who had remained along with her 
women, loved her very dearly, and tried to console her with 
affectionate and gentle words, but she could not. 2k>rmerin 
remained inconsolable, and when King Orschier sent for her, 
and said to her, that she must appear before King Otto, she 
sent back word to him that she was very ill, and could not ap- 
pear; and betook herself to her bed because she felt so miser- 
able ; with the determination, however, in her heart, that if she 
should be compelled to the marriage with Otto that she would 
kill him, even should her own life be the forfeit. Thereupon 

B B 


ed to her Sjtiogkr, and said, 
to jou an idea which I have 
-ou moat help me, if ^ou wil 

sak, dear maiden," answered 
d bds mother, as I will traly 
i found some means whereb; 
1 out of prison, for never ' 
At Lother is dead." " That 
Zormerin, " in which you i 

to me here ; tell himthat 

1 that I will not willingly s[ 
n aeeretlj, and my passion fi 
trivc to convince him bo ,o 
velieve it and come to me wi 
D hy stratagem endeavour t< 
lich to seal a letter that I w 
ellain in Pavia; therein wil 
t Lother and the other prif 
let be the messenger, and ca 
tellain ; get Lother first out 
a the truth of all, and dii 
ear lady," cried Synoglar, " 
ve devised! I will immedia 
■n." She hastened to Otto ai 
aost skilful way possible. " 
nment," said she Hatterii^l; 

was the cause thai Z<>rmeri 
iged to marry Lother; but 
ived any bnt you. Sir Otto, 
joled by these words, and b> 
d himself to be a man verj 
ifore followed the canning ! 
r. Here happened to him th: 
threshold, and fell at full ] 
on his stomach that the gr 
ignjn full of shame ; Synogi 
d laughter, but Zormerin \ 
ken his neck. 

iver, she did violence to he 
li a friendly voice, and begg 
ear her on her bed. He \ 


loving ardour^ and seated himself near her ; and while she 
talked to him of her love for him, and very kindly and lov- 
ingly caressed him, he wot not for great joyfukiess what 
had come to him ; then she took hold of a silken pnrse which 
hung at his girdle. '* Sir," began she, " what have you in 
this purse? K they are beautiful little rings, I should like 
very much to have one of them, and I would wear it on my 
hand for love of you." '* Take out, lovely Zormerin, what 
you please," said the fascinated Otto. Then searched she a 
long time in the purse, and pulled out a little ring, which 
she put on her finger ; but at the same time she stole from 
him the signet-ring without his remarking it, because his 
loving glances were unceasingly fixed upon her, and he took 
no heed of what she did. 

Zormerin was so joyous when she had the signet-ring 
that she good-humouredly and gaily jested with him, which 
completely drove him out of his senses. Then he begged 
her very much that she would take him for her husband, at 
which she complained to him that she felt herself too ill, but 
as soon as she recovered she would beccMne his wife. Then 
went Otto from Zormerin to King Orschier, who had com- 
manded him to be summoned to table. 

2k>rmerin remained alone with Synoglar, and now they 
immediately prepared the letter. She wrote just as would 
the, king in giving a command to his castellain, subscribed 
Otto's signature, and impressed his seal below. Then^she 
confided the letter to Synoglar, who, during the writing, had 
dressed herself like a messenger, and got ready her horse, so 
that without delay she set out with it on her way to Pavia. 

Zormerin threw the signet-ring on the ground before the 
door of the chamber. After the repast Otto again went to 
her, and there found it lying before the door ; he picked it 
up, and thinking he must have let it fall, and that Zormerin, 
after looking through his purse, had not fastened it again 
properly, troubled himself no further about it, but entering in 
to the fair Zormerin, talked with her of his love. She spoke 
with him kindly, but her heart was with Lother. 

Synoglar came without mishap to Pavia, and presented 
herself immediately to the castellain, kneeled before him, 
greeted him in the name of his master Otto, and gave him the 
letter. When the castellain had read it through, and recog* 

B B 2 


aster's signet impreBsion, h 
:caiise be loved Lother wi 

UDJUEtly in captivity. Ht 
res to Lother in the dung 
pense," said he; "I brini 
«! King Otto iias writtei 
; other prisoners at liberty 

where he will be recont 
hat my lord, King Otto, se 
y for you, Sir Lother, and 
ne thus far with you." La 

words, and thought, cons> 
joking with him ; yet when 
, and coni'ersed so kindly 
\y for hia good friendship, \ 
jeon, in which he bad epei 
the people of Pavia wonder 
istetlain caused the letter 
read about, nnd he showei 
d it ; and they nil rejoiced 
. him happiness. Synogi 
re Lother was, and went i 
rith hitn, but he could not 
ange apparel, and had so 

>}llain sent now also for 
^e women, who were in t 
ht to Pavis. Scheidechin 
e of the loveliest maidei 

was gone and quite fadei 
Sered cold and hunger, a 

preserve the beauty of 
ind kissed her, with many 
h faded. "Ab, sir," said 
our true comrade: I sa 
carriage, -^ God and his ( 

again be glad, for he wa 
veil find." " Be of good 
ad lives still; mycomradeU 
: with me, not long ago, dti 
iechin, for the first time, w 
lin ordered water to be br 


themselves and sat down together to table. That day, thej 
remained at Pavia, but the next morning, very e^rlj, they 
all went out on the road to Constantinople. The women 
were seated in a coach, the castellain and Lother rode, at- 
tended by twenty armed Lombards, and Synoglar, mounted 
on a good horse, led the expedition. 

Four days had they already journeyed, and she had not 
found an opportunity of making herself known to Lother, or 
saying a word to him. Now, however, it happened one day, 
when they had arrived at a beautiful cool spring, that 
Lother dismounted and went to the fountain to drink. The 
Lombards had all passed on without stopping ; this Synoglar 
perceived. " Sir Lother, I too will drink!" cried she, and 
she turned her horse and rode to the spring, where Lother 
had alighted. She likewise dismounted from her horse, but 
instead of drinking, approached him, and said hurriedly : — 
" Look at me, Sir Lother, — I am Synoglar. The Lady Zor- 
merin obtained by stratagem from the traitor Otto his signet- 
ring, wrote the lettv to the castellain, and I, dressed as a 
messenger, brought it, and thus were you released from the 
dungeon. King Orschier wishes to give his daughter to the 
traitor Otto, because he thinks you are dead. But now be- 
think you how you may set yourself and the rest of your 
company free ; I must steal away, and, by another route, 
ride to Constantinople, to my gracious Lady Zormerin.** 
Lother had recognised her whilst she was spealung, and said, 
" Greet my wife kindly for me, — I will see her ere long, cost 
what it will." Then Synoglar mounted her horse again, turned 
about, and rode away by another route. Thereat the castel- 
lain gave no heed, and thought she was in the rear of the 
company, or had tarried somewhere. 

Lother rode up to the carriage to Scheidechin, and related 
to her privily the whole matter. Then, added he, " Dear 
Scheidechin, you must now see how you can free yourself, 
for I can no further aid you." 

That night they halted in a village to rest As they 
found nothing there to eat or drink, they were obliged very 
soon to go to bed. Scheidechin, when she saw the Lom- 
bards were fast asleep, got up, waked the other women, re- 
lated to all briefly what had happened, and how they must 
from that time shift for themselves ; wherefore they all cut 



their clothes short, like boys, that 
eaeily nin ; crept softly out of the a 
utmost speed into the neighbouring 1 
part, cut his sheet into strips, tied it 
himself doTCn by it. He ran to the 
himself in bed, as if he were very ill, 
In the meantime the casteltain avoke 
■was day, he rose and went to roust 
When he found that Lother was now! 
came frightened ; at last he caught si{ 
sheet at the window, and now perc 
escaped ; he knew not what to think 
quite like a man distraught But wbi 
tJie women also had fled, he knew tha 
have been in play, and foresaw, to hi 
have to expiate it with his life. He 
ten different routes, and seek everjTrh 
not 6nd some of the prisoners again, an 
a town where they should all re-assen 
entirely fruitless. Lother kept hims 
bed, and let no one come near him bu' 
time as he might safely think the Loml 
The castellain, sore troubled, at l 
company at Constantinople, and ki 
was sitting by Zormerin. " Castellaii 
Otto, " what business brings you to i 
land?" "Sire, I bear you evil tii 
brought Lother here to you, as yoi 
letter, but he is fled." At this ae« 
with amazement. "What!" cried h 
castellain ? I have never had an id( 
set Lother at liberty. Thou false v 
him escape, thou afaalt die without n 
council tf^ether, and disclosed to th 
ei-y. " What shall I do, then," cried 
out who has played me this trick ? " 
council, " Sir, it cannot fail certaii 
through women, — the wisest and st 
betrayed by them ; when women hi 
doing anything, it boots not how n 
provide." " Yes, yes," said the cash 


'* sir, jour councillor speaks the truth !" But these words 
helped not the poor castellain ; Otto, in his rage, had both 
him and his men hanged on the gallows. 


Then went Otto to King Orschier, and made complaint 
against Zormerin that she had stolen his signet, and written 
a false letter to his castellain in Pavia, that he should set 
Lother free. " Sir king," said he, ''on account of this 
treachery I demand judgment and justice upon jour daugh- 
ter." ^' If she has done thee evil," said King Orschier, '' I 
will have her burnt/' Therewith he sent a knight to her to 
bid her to his presence ; she was sitting and listening to 
Sjnoglar's relation of eyery thing which had happened to 
Lother, and how things had gone with her, when she re- 
ceived the message from her father. She went to him imme- 
diately; and when King Orschier saw her he cried with an 
angry voice, ** Daughter, King Otto complains to me that you 
have stolen his signet-ring, and that you have by means of 
it made a false letter, and sent it to his castellain at Pavia, 
that he should let Lother out of prison." " Father, were I a 
n)an I would answer, life against life to any one who accused 
me of it ; but I am a woman, and cannot now defend myself." 
'' You cannot deny," said Otto, " that I found my signet-ring 
lying before your door ; the blood in my veins ran cold when 
I saw it there, but your fine speeches and friendly behaviour 
caused me to forget it again immediately." '' Sir," exclaimed 
Zormerin, '' if I was friendly to you in words and actions, it 
arose from love, as you well know ; for I then believed my 
husband. Sir Lother, was dead, as you declared him to be. 
But now that he still lives, everjrthing between us is 
changed, and God preserve me from ever taking any other 
man ! I am also guiltless of that of which you accuse me." 
Then advanced one of Otto*s followers, called Herna ; he was 
the same who had carried the robe to Lother in the dungeon 
and had pained him by his thoughtless discourse. " Noble 
lady," said Herna, " you have betrayed my lord ; seek your- 
self now a knight to combat for you ; for I will maintain the 
cause of my master King Otto ; so may your father then 
judge you according to your deserts." ''So be it I This 

B B 4 


3t be fouglit," said Orsclii 
i for yourself one who w 
1 went out and Bent for 
lom she had confidence 
her service ; but she fo 
er in this combat, for ] 
' for a great champion, 
rmerin fell on her knees 
lot forsake her, as all tht 
ght remain true to her w 
Zorroerin's prayer, and 
istantinople. In the last 
e entering the city, he b 

used to wear it, and I 
!oIy Sepulchre, and who 

1 Lother bought, as we 
rent thus clad to Consta 
nthost, Salomon, but die 
wished not to be recogi 
none. Salomon and hii 
[grim, and entertained hi 
eave Iiother here in the 
< had OS yet found no < 
a siudone day to Otto, " 
nerin can find herself a c 
iirself on her; for, while 
ill be readily mollified 

me have my will, I will 
nd then shaJl you be lo] 
1." " If you can do thi; 
'arded.'' Then Herna pi 
lid kill a man as soon t 
ier, however, wore a gold 
; this gem had lain under 
iour suffered deUh then 

side with the spear, the 
i divine blood ; thence it 
le presence of any deadl 


Ab he now sat at table and called for his great golden 
goblet, Herna threw the poison into it so adroitly, that no one 
remarked it. But the instant the goblet was set down before 
the king, the gem sprang out of the ring at least thirty paces 
distant into the hall. King Orschier immediately started 
up from t^ble full of horror. ** How have I deserved," cried 
he, *' that people should poison me ? I know no one whom 
1 have injured." "Sir," said Otto, "the poison was evi- 
dently not placed here solely on your account. I shall there- 
fore return home to my own country, before I too am poi- 
soned." Then the wine was given to a dog, which, after lap- 
ping it, died immediately, so that all were convinced that it 
was poison. "Alas, alas ! woe is me !" cried Orschier, lament- 
ing, "who can it be, that thus seeks my death?" "Sir," 
said Herna, " it can be no one but your daughter ; she can 
find no champion ; she thinks, therefore, to put you out of 
the way, in order to reign alone in the kingdom, and thus to 
be absolved from the combat. Your daughter Zormerin I 
therefore accuse of this, and whoever gainsays me must fight 
with me!" "It may be so," said King Orschier ; "bring 
my daughter hither." Then went full ten knights and 
rudely seized Zormerin. " Dear gentlemen," said she, " what 
would you with me?" One of them said : "Lady, you are 
to be burnt, on account of the poison you prepared for your 
father. Denial is of no avail, as it was discovered by the 
ring." "Jesus forbid!" said Zormerin, "what language do 
you hold ? Eternal God I I commit myself to thy care, for 
there are those who act treacherously towards me." 

She was led away like a criminal. When she appeared 
before her father she fell low on her knees before him. 
" Father," said she, " permit me to defend myself, for never 
came such wickedness into my mind." "Base criminal," 
cried Orschier, " thou canst not deny the fact, «- thou hast 
sought to poison me!" "No! never! by the death that I 
must and shall suffer." " Woman," cried Otto, " you shall be 
burnt : you have well deserved it from us, for you prepared 
your poison for me, and you also set free my mortal enemy ; 
whoever denies this let him advance and try your cause 
against my champion." Herna at these words threw down 
^is gauntlet, but no one was found to accept the challenge. 
Then King Orschier called his marshal, and said, " Marslud, 


imand thee do execution upon her, and spare her not, 
this moment she shall no longer be my daughter ; I re- 
;e her, and will neither eat nor drink until she hsa 
'ed her just puaishment." Zormerin wept bitterly, and 
ed away, aiid before the palace a stake was erected on 
of wood, on which she was to be burnt, 
len the burghers in the town heard this, pity for Zor- 
. was universal. Men, women, and children, and all 
vere in the city, mourned and wept for her. Salomon, 
1st, and his wife bewailed her very sorrowfully. Then 
T inquired the reason of the great lamentation. " Alas 
; ! " said the host&w, " shall we not weep indeed ? The 
1 only child, the lovely Zormerin, is to-day to be burnt" 
ir was so horrified that the blood ran cold to his heart. 
Dut taking leave of the host, and without thinking of 
If, be ran from the inn to the palace. Before the pidaee 

great a throng of people that Lotber could scarce push 
gh; they were just leading Zormerin past; she hsd no 

apparel but a coarse under-garment, as the marshal 
ommanded. He stood high upon a platform that every 
light see him, and after he had begged the people to be 
, he began : " Ye people, we must condemn our lady to 

death, when I have first asked three times whether any 
'ill fight for her against Hema. If one is found who will 

forth as her champion and be victorious in the combat, 
ahe is free, and he who loses the fight must be hanged ; 
' there is no one to be found who will do battle for her 
et Hema, or if he who fights for her is vanquished, then 

she, in judgment and justice, be burnt." Then the 
lal demanded the first time if there was any one who 

1 answer for her. Zormerin fell on her knees and wept 
ng tears ; she looked round at her knights : " You, dear 
smen, save me irom this undeserved punishment of 

; I am falsely accused; I am unjustly condemnedl" 

cried she constantly; but the knights were aU silent. 

demanded the marshal the second time, and now Lother 
nly just succeeded in pressing through the crowd ; he 

forUi with bis long beard and pilgrim's stafi". " Hear 
11 men," cried he aloud : " permit me to fight for the 

for I believe her to be traitorously treated. I come 
the Holy Sepulchre, and have nothing but what I bear 


on my body ; but if yon will arm me, I will do battle against 
that knave who stands there ; if he conquers me you shall hang 
me np on the gallows ; but I trust in God, who defends the 
innocent, because I know the lady is guiltless of the crime of 
which she is accused." While he thus spake there arose a 
murmur an^ong the people : one said to another, *' I hope the 
pilgrim is sent from God to save our young lady." Zormerin 
said to herself, '^ Alas ! alas I shall this pilgrim fight for me, 
and he is much less than Herna ? Oh God, take me under thy 
protection ! " She called to her the pilgrim. " Dear brother, 
fight bravely for me ; I swear to thee they do me injustice ; 
I am guiltless of the treachery laid to my charge." *^ Lady^ 
I fight for you vrith a willing heart, only take care that I 
have arms and a good horse." " That you shall not want," 
said Zormerin, *< but first let me kiss the staff which has 
touched the Holy Sepulchre." 

Lother gave her the stafi*, but in such a manner that she 
could not fail to see the ring on his hand, which ^e well 
knew, because she herself had formerly placed it on his finger. 
When she perceived the ring her inmost heart revived ; she 
looked then at the pilgrim, but could not recognise him on 
account of the long beard ; then she glanced at his hands, 
which were white and soft; by those hands, and by his 
brown eyes, she at last satisfied her mind that it was Lother. 
Then said she to the marshal, "I am content with this 
champion, and I hope Grod the Lord has sent him to me. If 
he is conquered and hanged you shall instantly bum me, for 
I will not even ask to live." Then Herna was obliged again 
to throw down his gauntlet, which the pilgrim took up. "Art 
thou noble?" asked Herna. " No one boasts of himself," 
answered the pilgrim ; '' my sword shall give an answer." 

When the king was informed of what had passed with the 
pilgrim, he only treated it with derision. Herna went away 
to arm himself, as the pilgrim insisted that the combat should 
begin forthwith. The marshal took Lother to his own house, 
where he gave him good armour ; this the pilgrim knew so 
well how to put on, and understood every thing so thoroughly, 
that the marshal wondered greatly. Then Lother mounted a 
horse, dung his shield over Ms shoulder, and seized the lance ; 
then fixing himself firmly in the saddle, he rode hither and 
thither, looked ckMely to all the trappings of the horse, and 


ved him in every way. " My 
ho ever sair a pilgrim like this 
her, as he took leave of him, 
th this be rode into the square 
ly waiting for him, and that w 
leroa had thrown the glove so 
the lists. Lother rode up to 

his hand, which she presse 
ctioQ. " God will protect thee 

respect of the poison injusti 
■■ I have faith that thou wilt 
er I did indeed write, only I h 
" King Orschier from his w! 
well on his horse, which cause 
istice is done to my daughter, 
in his silent heart. The hoi 
ch Lother and Hema took thi 
b more, and withdrew to a dist 
f rode together again, and cha 
ir two horses fell dead under t 
n their feet, drew their swor 
«ch otiier that the people thoi 
>n at the first blow, for Hen 
>nger roan. 

lOther bore himself right t 
li a blow that the blood flowed 
inave," cried he, "take care 
ned to deal at the Holy Sepu 
hese words, and pressed ba^ i 
red Zormerin fervently, " pro 
anquered and must die, I wisli 
na dealt such a blow at Lotbe 
t of his shield. If the blow 
Id it must have cut lotber i 

not wanting, he struck so 
: his blade shivered against th 

who had made the sword, 
'he people made a loud outer; 
' must be burqt ! " King On 
L "All, daughter," sighed he, 
vhich you were born ?" Zom 


began to pray most piously and fervently, and when she had 
finished lier prayer in great anguish and in deep sorrow of 
heart, her senses left her, and she fell on the ground in a 

Both still fought bravely. Herna struck at Lother, and 
the latter either warded off the blows or covered himself 
with his shield. At last Herna gave such a powerful blow 
that his sword stuck in Lother's shield, so that he could not 
draw it out again ; when Lother saw this he seized the sword 
by the point with both hands, Herna pulling on his side by 
the handle, and Lother on his by the point. At last, when 
Herna was pulling with all his might, Lother let go so sud^ 
denly, that Herna fell backwards on the ground. Now Lother 
sprang upon him, and stuck a knife in his body, which came 
through to his back, but his heart was not pierced, so that 
he did not die immediately ; but he let his sword fall, and 
this Lother seized and threw over the barrier. He then ran 
again to Herna and pulled off his helmet ; from this Herna 
revived again, and sprang upon his feet; and now they 
wrestled with each other, but neither could throw down the 
other ; at last Lother gave Herna a blow as the latter was 
looking round for his sword, and recovered again his knife, 
with which he cut off Hema's ear and a portion of his cheek. 
" Thou canst not now escape the gallows," cried he, " for 
whosoever sees thee with one ear will soon know thee to be 
a thief." "Pilgrim, thou hast treated me very ill,** said 
Herna ; " if thou wilt now freely let thyself be conquered 
by me I will give you gold and silver in plenty, and besides 
that many costly gifts." "False villain!" cried Lother, 
" what a shameful deed dost thou propose to me ! hut know, 
thou knave, that thou hast no pilgrim before thee, but Lother 
of Prance, to whom thou broughtest a garment in the 
dungeon." This terrified Herna so that his heart sunk 
within him. " Noble sir," began he, " I yield to you ; but 
before you slay me let me go to King Orschier, that I may 
confess my treachery, for it was I who prepared the poison 
for him." Lother sat himself down, for he was weary, and 
wished to listen to Hema's discourse ; then Herna sat him- 
self opposite, as if he wished to talk more conveniently 
with him ; but he seized his knife before Lother was aware, 
and threw it at him ; the knife, however, pierced only the 
breast-plate, and happily did not wound Lother, for had it 


round must 
rurioos and ii 
eij at Herni 
n to the teetl 
beautiful Zoi 
J07, shouted, 
■d be the hour 
httvaj to Zor 
he lipa with 1 
led him bf t 
now, mj Icn 
md inju8ti<» ] 
3o evil agains! 
!}rBchier repli 
Cer; go, talte 
ve him also ri 
im an honoun 
tanked the ki 
r led bin) inl 
90 that his nai 
i neat as he c 
uber; eke jc 
luth a hundrei 
.ogether I wiL 
le it. Zormei 
f, and took g 
" can you not 
dler is sojoui 
wered Zormei 
be ball, decla 
t time this I 

ake rest nor i 
ivity," " Ah 
lim for his fid 
d they alreadi 
: came to Zon 
lin; Zormeriti 
vere tarrying 
it they might 


Scheidechin knew that Mailer, her husband, was still living, 
and she herself was well tended and nourished bj Zormerin, 
as well with food and drink as with baths and magnificent 
clothes, she bloomed out again and became as beautiful as 

Here we will leave Zormerin and Lother for a little space, 
and once more take a view of Mailer, his faithful comrade. 


Maller and his friends had assembled a mightj army, and 
therewith had invaded Lombardj and ravaged the whole 
land ; neither churches nor cloisters were spared. When they 
came to Pavia, a herald was despatched into the town to 
the bui^hers, with a command that they should bring out 
Lother, and also that Otto, their king, should be bound on., a 
horse, hand and foot, and delivered into their hands. For 
Mailer insisted so strongly that he must hang Otto, that none 
of his friends could reason him out of it. The citizens an* 
swered the herald : — " Lother of France has been carried 
hence to Constantinople, and there he has been reconciled with 
our King Otto." No sooner had Mailer received this answer 
from the herald than he became frantic with impatience. He 
swore to God, King Orschier and Otto should die the bitterest 
of deaths, if they set not his lord free, for he could not be- 
lieve in the reconciliation. Therefore permitted he the 
city to be taken by storm ; and, as history tells us, he left 
no living soul in Pavia. Men and women, greybeards and 
children, all were put to the sword, because he hated all 
Lombards as false traitorous people. After he had gar- 
risoned the city with twenty thousand of his armed men, he 
departed with the remainder of the army to Constantinople. 
So soon as he entered the country of King Orschier, he rav- 
aged and burnt every part and slew all who opposed him. 

Then ran certain inhabitants to Constantinople, and fell 
at the king's feet, saying, " Sire, guard your city, for Maller 
is approaching with one hundred thousand men, and will 
besiege you; he is not more than two miles distant, and 
wherever he has passed he has burnt and ravaged every- 
thing, and slain every body." King Orschier was greatly 
frightened, and said to Otto, " I beg of you, be reconciled 


laughter, and aseist n 
Lother ia with him, i 
to Zormerin ; then v 
:h him what you plea 
' " Give me your wo: 
id I will remain hen 
:hier bad Zonnerin ai 
ould be reconciled wi 
raa going with him U 
in said, " Gracious lo 
[ be reconciled with 
wards me, and I havi 
his account ; but hii 
not desire it, now ji 
liTing.** Then she 
, and immediately U 
a into her own chan 
Mailer, with a mighty 
^at be was going to 
id cried, " I will ride 
i to aid me." " Deal 
u not to destroy my 1 
know for certain he « 
no harm eboll betidi 
n-ill kill, though he i 
great wickedness U. 
ler armed himself au' 
3rin gave him a good 
and had the gates o 
: the king's daughter 
rod with hia whole he: 
ilain. Zonnerin retur 
iay broke, Lother met 
Is the city. " From wl 
ler. " We may well fli 
: necessary likewise ; 
:h ravages the whole 
and monasteries ; au' 
ath." Lother was gl 
Poller was so near hi 
It of goodly mien, w! 


horse, and bj him was a beautiful young maiden, who com- 
plained and lamented loudlj and very grievously ; for he 
struggled with her, and sought to bend her to his wishes. 
'' Oh, kill me," cried she, weeping ; " take thy sword, strike 
off my head ; for I would rather die than yield myself to 
thee." '* Dear maiden,'* quoth the knight, " first you shall 
submit yourself to my will, and it will be time enough then to 
strike off your head." Then cried the maiden with a loud 
voice, ** Oh, Mary, mother of Grod, come to my aid ! help me 
to preserve my honour and my life !" Lother, who, behind 
a bush, had heard all, now issued forth and cried, " False 
knight, mount thy horse; thou must fight with me, for I 
hereby proclaim myself this maiden's knight." The knight 
no sooner heard these words than he sprang on his horse and 
couched his lance. It was Dietrich of Carthago, a bastard 
son of King Ansys ; he had carried off this lady by violence, 
on account of her beauty, and had killed her father, the king 
of Spain ; through the consequences of this outrage the whole 
kingdom of Spain was long time desolated. 

They now fought, and struck so furiously at each other, 
that both were wounded. This a knight's serving-man, who 
had ridden thither, saw, and he turned his horse and rode off 
to Mailer, who was not far behind. ** Sir," cried the rider, 
^* come and aid the bastard of Carthago, he is combating 
with a stranger knight, who is pressing him very sore." 
Then Mailer blew his horn and spurred his horse into a 
swift gallop; after him hastened near ten thousand men. 
When Mailer came near the spot where the two knights were 
fighting, he hurried towards them, intending to help Dietrich ; 
but Lother, who knew him by his blazonry, hastily pulled off 
his helmet, and Mailer recognised him also. Both leapt 
from their hprses, embraced and kissed each other for very 
joy, and they even wept with gladness that they were again 
near each other. In the mean time the other leaders of the 
army were arrived also; King Galyen, Otger, Mailer's bro- 
ther, and King Ansys ; they all bade Lother welcome, and 
were rejoiced to see him. Now came near to them also Die- 
trich of Carthago, who reconciled himself with Lother, and 
all were full of joy. Mailer related to his friend all that had 
happened to him since they saw each other lost; so also 



did Lother ; and both determined to besiege ConstftntiiK^ley 
and never to rest till thej had hanged Otto on the gallows. 

Now they marched on, and besieged the town of Gonstaa- 
tinople ; Hag Qrschier determined at the same time to £dl 
upon them with a great army before they had reposed 
after their march. Of this his knights were very glad ; and 
they led nearly sixteen thousand men against the enemy. 
Mailer also arrayed his army ; and Lother and King Ansys^ 
King Gkdyen, Otger^ and Dietrich of Carthago led each a 
host King Orschier and his Greeks fooght bravely against 
the enemy; but the latter also were not baekwajnl in the 
combat Otger, Mailer's brother, met in fight Salomon the 
host, pulled off his helmet, and wonld have killed him ; but 
Mailer saw it and said, ^ My brother, spare him ; he is mj 
^ood friend." ** Yield ye to me," cried he to him. Then 
Salomon the host gave up his sword, and he was led into 
Mailer's tent It was a great fight, in which every one staked 
his life. Mailer pressed on until he perceived King Oracbier. 
'* Thou most foolish king," cried he, ^now thine boor is 
come ; thou hast already lived too long." With these words 
he thrust at him with his spear, and threw him out of the 
saddle ; so that he fell undemealh the horse. Mailer seised 
him and pulled off his helmet Now Otto had sworn to the 
king by all the saints that he woold not forsake him ; bot 
when he saw him lying there on the ground, he would not 
have taken all King Solomon's treasures to oppose MaUer. 
The latter then drew his sword, and was going to strike off 
Orschier's head, when Lother hastened ti^ither and seLsed 
his arm. ** Dear Mailer, do not kill the king ; give him up 
to me." Mailer did it unwillingly, yet he respected Lother's 
MTord, and let go the king. ^ Noble sire," said Lother, '* yoa 
see now what Otto's kingdom helps you ; yon have betrayed 
yourself." Then he sent him into lus tent, and commanded 
that he should be guarded. 

Otto looked this side and that side, and woold willingly 
have been far away ; but he could not quit the field for the 
people. MaUer advanced still further in the fight, till at last 
he caught sight of Otto, and was opening himadf a way in 
order to reach him. This Otto became aware off, and b^ged 
a Lombard knight to change armours with him, *' I wiU well 
reward you for it, dear knight^" said he ; ''for I would not 


wait for lUler for aU tbe wealth in the world." The knight 
was the boldest and most yaliaot of the Lombards ; he in- 
stantly changed armour with Otto, and the latter then hurried 
out of the fight into the city. Mailer had now reached the 
Lombard knight^ and gaye himso fierce a blow, that he fell dead 
from his horse. Now Mailer fancied it was Otto^ and draped 
him into his tent» in order to gire him over to Ix>ther. The 
people also fancied Otto was slain, and made a reti^t* 
MsUer, when he was arriyed in his tent, pulled off the dead 
man's helmet ; but when he saw that it was not Otto, he was 
sore yexed. '^ A more cowardly wretch," said Lother, '^ than 
that red-head liyes not on earth." 

Now Lother summoned Sing Orschier and said, *^ Noble 
king, I will do joo no i^JQiT; I know well that mj cousin 
Otto counselled jou to act thus foolishly. You are a man of 
sense; reflect that I, by the jNriest before the altar, was 
giyen to your daughter as her wedded husband. Tou know 
that no marrisge oan be seyered, unless death dissolye it, and 
I swore fidelilyto her at the altar by the God who sufiered 
death for us. Whateyer therefore may happen, and whateyer 
you may do to me, I will never aet ill towards you, and wiU 
always hold you in honour as my father-in-law." King 
Orschier, when he heard Lother so speak, fell down before 
him, embraced his knees, and wished to beg his forgiyenefls ; 
but Lother would not suffer it ; he was too generous and 
yirtuouB. ^ H it please you," said Orschier, *^ I will now 
ride into Constantinople, and to-morrow I will haye the gate 
opened for you, and give up Otto into your hands." ^ Do so, 
in God's name, sir lung," said Lother. ** Ah ! that shall he 
not," interposed Mailer ; ** I will not let him depart until he 
has sworn on my hand what he promises to you ; for one 
who has so often lied as he has may not lightly be trusted." 

Then (Orschier yowed with a loud yoioe, and before all pre* 
sent, by the honour of his knightly word, that he would open 
the gates of Ccmstantinople, and give Otto up to them. So 
Midler suffered him to depart, and Lother attended him ; 
and while they both rode together, Lother related to him, how 
he was the pilgrim who had skin Hema and saved his 
daughter. Then King Orschier wept when he heard that 
tale, and Uessed Lother for his truth and his heroism. ^ 

As soon as King Orschier was come to Constantinople 

c c 9 


into his palace, he sent a troop of men-at-arms to seek 
Otto, and to take him prisoner. Thej found the red-haired 
hidden in a chamber, where he lay and slept. He was 
bound, and led before the king. *' What means ihis, then ? ** 
asked he. '' Yesterday, miserable knave, thou didst forsake 
me," said the king, "when thou sawest me in most dire 
necessity ; and now by the God who made us, I will deliver 
thee up to thy cousin Lother, and to Mailer his comrade." 
Now Otto was horribly frightened, and shrieked and cried, 
but it ayalled him not ; he was bound fasty hand and foot, to 
a pillar. 

Then the king had the gates opened wide and let Lother 
and his army enter. Zormerin ran to meet Lother, and 
Scheidechin .her husband. Mailer : they embraced each other 
with love and great delight. " Mailer," began Scheidechin, " I 
already began to believe you would many another maiden." 
" Dear wife," answered Mailer, " and if I had married a hun- 
dred, thou would'st have been, as you still are, the lady and 
mistress. But rest tranquil, I have well taken care of myself, 
and always remained true to you." They now advanced 
with great joy, and with the sound of pipes and cymbals, 
and music of every kind towards the palace, so that it was a 
wonder to hear them. *' Dear husband," said Zormerin, "I 
wish now to be avenged on that wicked knave Otto : but I 
weU know that you will never do that yourself, therefore 
I beg you summon your friend Mailer ; for I swear to Grod I 
will neither eat nor drink till Otto is no longer among the 
living." Lother called his comrade Mailer and said, "I 
pray thee, strike off Otto's head, for I will at no price lay my 
hands on him." " Sir," answered Mailer, " I only want, first, 
permission from you ; for the rest, let me care." Therewith 
Mailer unbound the prisoner from the pillar, and led him by 
one arm down the stairs. Otto looked as if he were already 
dead. He was taken out to the gallows and hanged. 

They lived now all in great joy together. Lother and 
Zormerin, Mailer and Scheidechin, were the happiest mar- 
ried couples one could see ; the maiden Sjnoglar also mar- 
ried Dietrich the Bastard of Carthago. Soon thereafter 
King Gralyen and his son Otger, King Ansys and the rest 
of the nobles, took leave of the court of Constantinople, and 
each returned to his own country. 

CB. xxil] lotheb and maller. 389 


The citizens of Constantinople, and all Greece, choseLother of 
France for their king ; for King Qrschier was now an old man 
and might no longer reign. When that Lother was crowned 
king and emperor of Gbreece, and there was in consequence 
thereof great feasting and banqueting, there came a mes- 
senger, an ambassador, before lum, who kneeled down and 
said, '' God, to whom all things are known, may he take the 
emperor and all his host, to-daj and all future days, under 
his protection !" '* Grod save you, worthy messenger," said the 
emperor ; ** say on : what bringest thou to us ? " ** Sire, I am 
sent to you by the pious Boni&cius, our spiritual father. He 
implores you, through me, that you will come to his assist^ 
ance. Fourteen heathen kings have besieged Bome ; among 
them are the soldan of Babylon and the king of Morocco, 
who with all his people are so black that they look like 
hellish devils. They have thirty thousand armed men, and 
the black devils especially arc so numerous that they possess 
the entire plain, and ravage the whole Roman land. Where- 
fore our spiritual father begs you not to forsake him in his 
extremity, as all Christendom is concerned in this matter." 

^* Honoured ambassador, has not the holy father sent also 
to my brother Ludwig, king of France, and summoned him 
to his assistance ?" " Sire, I believe he has abo sent to him, 
but I know not whether he will come; for people say, 
generally, that he lets himself be guided by evil counsellors, 
and does according to their advice." Then Lother dismissed 
the ambassador with this answer, *^ that he would in a short 
time with his whole force hasten to the assistance of the 
holy father." Maller entreated that he also might go with 
him, for he desired greatly to fight once more against the 
infidels. '^ I quit you not again, sire, till death itself shall 
part us." "For ihat may God be praised and thanked,** 
said Lother ; " blessed is the hour in which you became my 
comrade." Lother then wrote letters to all his princes and 
counts, as far as his dominion extended, and summoned them 
and all their armed men ; and in a short time they had all 
assembled at Constantinople. Then Lother took leave of 
his wife : she wept bitterly when he departed, and never 

c c 3 


more was she to behold him. Mailer also bade farewell to his 
faithful Scheidechin : the parting was most bitter and veiy 
sorrowful to the two eouples, for they loved each other to 
their rery hearts. 

Xother and his armj embarked, and sailed with a fayour* 
able wind to Italj; there thej landed, and moved on towards 
Borne. Brevious to this, Lother had said to Mailer, **I wiU 
complain to the pope of mj brother Lndwig, that he shares 
not his kingdom with me, and that he refused to help me 
out of my captivity at Pavia. If the pope assists me not to ob* 
tain mj rights, I will do myself justice with an armed hand.^ 

When they arrived before Borne, they found the infidels 
just then engaged in a severe contest with the Christians. 
" If I hear aright," said Lother, " I recognise the cry of 
Mon^oye, the French war-cxy : quick, dear Mailer, let us 
thither, for I cannot permit the French to win the day 
alone.'' They rushed onwards now, in dense masses, and 
attacking the heathens in the rear, thereby threw the enemy 
into very great oonfusion. Histcny relates, that had it not 
been for Lother and Mailer, the French would that day have 
boon all put to the sword. Lother saw a troop of infidels who 
were fighting very obstinately, and heard also the French 
war-cry of Mon^ove* Then he hastened forwards to where 
the crowd was thiixest, and there he saw his brother Ludwig 
surrounded by infidels, fighting on foot ; his horse had been 
killed, and himself sore wounded. Lother knew him imme- 
diately by his arms. When he saw him in such distress, he 
forgot his displeasure against him, and struck around him at 
the heathens with such strength and courage, that there was 
soon a dear space around Ludwig, for the infidels fied before 
Lother like devils from holy-water. And in truth he was as 
noble as he was a valiant knight ; he struck him who carried 
the heathen banner, and severed his arm from his shoulder, 
so that the arm with the banner together fell to the eround ; 
he then seized the horse of this same heathen, and Ted it to 
the king. Ludwig mounted, and looked hard at Lother ; he 
observed that he had the Greek and French arms quartered 
<m his shield. The Greek arms were a grijQIn, half of gold 
and half of silver ; and furthermore there was a stool, — this 
stool denoted justice. ^* Dear Mend,** began Ludwig, ** what 
is your name ? I ought in justice to ask It, because you have 


saved me from death; besides which, I see the lilies of 
Ymace upon jour shield, as well as the Greek griffin, which 
mnch excites mj wonder." " I will not reveid to jou my 
name,'* said Lother ; ^ a griffin I bear because I am emperor 
of the Greeks ; and I have the lilies also, because I am a 
son of King Charles of France." Then Ludwig was greatly 
amazed. "Ohl dear brother," cried he, ^'I implore jour 
menry, for I have acted adversely towards jou, I acknow- 
ledge ; and I will make atonement according to jour will 
and pleasure. You have shown me much love, for which I 
thank jon ; but I have not deserved it at jour hands." At 
this appeal, Lother's heart was moved. ** Brother," said he, 
*^ I forgive whatever jou have done against me, although 
jou have made a verj unfair division of the paternal in- 
heritance ; joa have obtained not onlj France, but besides 
that, the empire of Rome. Let us now agree to laj our cause 
before the pope at Borne, and he will impartiallj arbitrate 
between us, and make a just partition." ** It shall be as jou 
desire," said King Ludwig. 

Now again thej rode into the fight, and smote bravelj all 
the infidels who came near them. Mailer also» that same 
daj, did manj noble deeds, and slew man j heathen men of 
might The pope stood on the walls, and pra jed incessantly 
to Grod to protect the Christians and give them the victorj. 
When night came on, the chiefs assembled and took counsel 
together, what thej should do ; then Mailer gave them this 
advice^ that thej should make a truce with the heathens, in 
order that thej might burj their dead, who were alreadj 
become so putrid that a pestilence might perchance arise in 
the land. The whole council approved this advice ; and 
sent forthwith a herald to the pagan camp, to demand a 
truce of fourteen da3rs, which the infidels a^preed to. Then 
the Christian armj returned to Rome, where thej were 
received bj the pope with the greatest honours ; he went 
himself to meet &em, and gave them his holj benediction. 
Then said he to King Ludwig, ^ Welcome in Gt>d's name, 
mj son ; in this strait I required jou verj much." Then 
he advanced and spoke to Lother. *' Welcome in Gk>d's 
name, m j dear son ; I have already heard of thy great deeds. 
You are the sword and buckler of all Christendom and of 
justice. You are very Hke your father; and although be 


lied you for seven years long, tl 
i no loDger be to your iiQurj ; yo 
your paternal inheritance." " 
ig, " we bATe both agreed to re 
D : if I have been goil^ towards 
is to him and pray his forgiven 
^ell Baid, dear son," answered 
ent tt^ether into the papal [ 
where they were excellently h 
lea the truce was ended, the CI 
gainst the heathens. Of thai 
Iter, when many thousand Chti 
er of the pagans, lost their live: 

ore the Christians marched oul 
they heard mass with the grea 
limeelf performed. The people 
igs. The pope gave them lus 1 
levotion with the sight of the 
rae theirs ; and those infidels wl 
;bt were all slain. Now they i 
the pope received them with 
sjoicing. The Christian dead ' 
^ ground ; but the bodies of tt 
birds and beasts of prty. 


;&£H days had Lother and tb< 
me, when a messenger arrived 
:or. Lother gave the letter U 

read it ; but is the latter, ha 
1, he wept very bitterly. " \ 
Y ? wherefore do yon weep ?" 
' King Orschier informs you tl 
irin, is dead; she died in gii 

they also fear greatly Will not 
borroT, fell in a swoon on the 

CH. xxm.] lothzb' and mai.t.ibr. 393 

ihas so long tliat people thought he too was dead. When 
he at length came to himself^ he tore his hairy and was over- 
whelmed with grief for the loss of his beautifal consort 
King Ludwig harried thither^ and sought to console him ; 
but Lother heeded not the words that any one s|K>ke to him. 
'<Alas! my beautiful, faithful Zormerin!" cried he conti- 
nually ; '^ ail ! my beloved wife, never can I forget thee and 
the great love that thou didst bare to me ! Ah, death ! where- 
fore hast thou separated us ? wherefore hast thou taken from 
the world the most beautiful and the most gracious, the 
most pious and virtuous woman that ever entered it ? Ah, 
death ! me ! ! me should'st thou have taken much rather 
than her!" '^You should resign yourself to God," said 
King Ludwig ; for, as God wills, so must it come to pass." 
*' Ah, brother ! " continued Lother, " I was born to misfor- 
tune : now have I lost her whom alone I loved. Oh, earth ! 
open and swallow me up in thine abyss !" And again he tore 
his hair and wrung his hands. No man had ever so hard a 
heart, but had he seen that agony and heard Lother's lament, 
he would have pitied him. Two days and two nights he la- 
mented, so that no one dared to offer consoktion to him; 
but on the third day he became more calm. No grief is so 
great but one must at last forget it ; this we can d^ow daily 
in the world, both in men and even in tender-hearted women. 
The pope sent word to the two brothers, Lother and 
Ludwig, and the other princes, that they should all assemble 
together in his presence. *^ Dear princes," the pope began to 
say in the assembly, ^* you are both sons of the emperor 
Charles of France. The French have elected Ludwig as 
their lord and king ; but Lother has not, of all his paternal 
inheritance, a spur's worth ; yet is he the emperor Charleses 
legitimate son, and no bastanl, nor do we hold him so to be. 
Now, dear lords and friends, what think you of the following ? 
I beseech you give me your opinion. It seems to me a just 
apportionment that Ludwig should remain king in France, and 
Lother be emperor of Rome." " Holy father," began King 
Ludwig, " your counsel appears to me to be good, and I will 
follow it." Thus the pope bought to unite the two brothers ; 
but through this union in the sequel more than twice a hun- 
dred thousand men were slain. There were many wicked and 
malicious men among the counsellors of King Ludwig, who 


Still remained of Lather's old eneniiefl; these were much 
aUnned that Lndwig should have proved so suhmisftive to 
the pope, and that he had so freely given up the empire to 
Lother, and hence arose great nwortoiies^ and the moat 
bloody war that ever was waged* 

Lotiier was elevated on the piHP^ throne, and the imperial 
crown placed on his head, and in the one hand the sword, and 
in the other the imperial globe. Great h<Hiotir had arrived 
to Lother, for thus he was crowned Roman empercnr with 
mnch festivity and great pomp; but he was not pleased 
therewith, and when eveiy other man's he^ was gay his 
was not so, on accoont of his wife^ who was never absent 
from his mind night or day, and whom he deeply mourned 
in his heart. 

Shortly afterwards King Ludwig todc leave of the pope 
on his return to France. He also went to Mailer to bid hun 
furewell, for Mailer then lay ill in bed from his wounds. He 
had received in the last battle no less than thirty womids, 
which were mortally dangerous* At last came King Ludwig 
to his brother the emperor, to take leave of him. He em- 
braced and kissed him very affectionately, and said, ** Dear 
brother, you have asked my advice, and I pray of yon now 
earnestly to follow it; take no other wife." ** My brother," 
answered Lother, " that would I not do for many a ton of 
gold ^ and had you asked my opinion before you married 
your wife, neither should I probaUy have advised you 
thereto." To this King Ludwig replied not, but he toA 
leave and rode away back again to France. 

Now spoke those false traitors, Lother's enemies, to Lud- 
wig. ^ Oh sire^ how unwisely have you acted in thus sepa- 
rating the empire from the French crown. Ton have 
deprived it of its greatest glory, and you cannot henceforth 
ever hope to enjoy the friendship and confidence of your 
brother, and your inheritance will suffer from it for centuries. 
The empire will now elevate itself far above the French 
crown, and the latter will never more be able to shake itself 
free. Never did a king bargain so injuriously; children 
who are vet unborn will curse your soul for it.** 

Such ifuiguage these traitors held so often towards the 
king, and he was compelled to listen to so much from the same 
quarter, that he at last b^an in his heart to hate his brother. 


As they were now oounselling him to betray Lother, and make 
war upon him, thus spdke Ludwig : ^' You are mj confiden- 
tial comisellorB and trusty friendB, bat speak no more on this 
subject; I win listen to it no longer: advise me no further 
concerning it; for I will never consent thereto." The traitors 
were ill-content with this decision : they would willingly have 
done Lother any iinury ; for they could not forget that he 
had formerly been round with their wives and daughters. 

To the king they spoke no more at that time ; but ihej 
determined among themselves to get on their side the king's 
wife Blanchefleur, and thus bring the king, her husband, to 
yield his consent. When a woman has a husband who loves 
her from his heart, she leads him whereto she will ; and the 
wiser the man is, ^e greater folly she can persuade him to. 


Aptsb Ludwig had journeyed £rom Rome, there came 
a message to Lother that his son was living, fresh and 
healthy ; he had from his birth the mark of two red crosses ; 
and furthermore his right arm, which should wield the 
sword, was quite red luce blood, but the other arm was 
white. This message made Lother glad; and he said to 
Mailer, ** Dear comrade, I must journey to Constantinople 
to see my son. In the mean time have yourself well cared 
for by the physician, that you may recover.* " Dear sir," 
said Mailer, ** I beg you to bring my wife Scheidechin hither 
to me." '' That shall be done," said Lother : with that he 
rode forth, embarked on board a ship, and arrived without 
adventure at Constantinople. 

When King Orschier and Lother saw each other, they 
both began weeping bitterly ; and the grief of both for the 
beautifiS Zormerin was again renewed. The nurse brought 
Lother his infant son : then his tears flowed abundantly over 
the child. ^ Marphone, thou dear son," said he, ** the most 
beautiful, the best, and truest woman on this earth died for 
your sake." '* By my truth," cried King Orschier, '^ he shall 
keep the name, for Marohone signifies in our language, ^ Alas 
that thou wert bom !' " Lother tarried twenty months at Con* 
stantinople, after which he took leave of his father-in^'law, 
intending to travel again to Rome. At his departure King 


Orachier promised him that he would keep Marphone under 
his care at Constantinople, and give him the Greek empire ; 
but advised that Lother should again take a wife, in order to 
have an heir to the Roman empire. '* I am willing to obey 
jour wishes," answered Lother, '' but never shall I love wife 
as I have loved the faithful Zormerin." Marphone remained 
in Constantinople, and became handsome and tall ; but Liother 
departed with Scheidechin^ Maller^s wife, to Rome. Here thej 
found Mailer completely recovered ; and the joy he had in 
seeing Scheidechin again was very great. 

Lother now lived for four years in Rome, and during that 
time marched an expedition against the infidels, to whom he 
occasioned great injury. But he could not yet find resolu- 
tion to take a wife, for Zormerin lived ever in his heart. 

In the mean while the traitors had not on their part been 
idle ; they had persuaded Blanchefleur^ the queen of France, 
that she ought to talk over her husband ; and, at last, after 
many repulses, he gave her his consent to the war. Lother 
likewise assembled a mighty host, and many nobles and 
princes came to aid him ; Marphone, also, Lother's son, who in 
the mean time had become a great and powerful knight, and 
after King Orschier's death, emperor of Greece, arrived to his 
father*s assistance with a mighty army. Mailer and his men 
also failed him not. Then commenced the bloodiest war^ in 
which Christians fought against Christians, of which one has 
ever heard. For many years this war lasted, and therein 
many lands were ravaged, churches and monasteries burned, 
and more than six hundred thousand men lost their lives, till 
their blood dyed crimson all the rivers and streams in the 
land. At last Lother, in the benevolence of his heart, be- 
came reconciled to Ludwig, but not till after his traitor 
counsellors were all either dead or imprisoned. 

Then Marphone took leave of his father, and returned 
with his army to Constantinople. Mailer received tidings 
that his beloved wife Scheidechin was dead ; then grieved 
he deeply for her and wept outright, nor could he ever be 
gay again from that moment ; and thence also he knew how 
unhappy his lord and comrade Lother must be to his life's end* 
It occurred to him in his mind that he might as well see his 
father and mother once more ; so he bade farewdl to the 
Emperor Lother, and rode to Montsysson. But he had first 


been obliged to promise Lother to return again to Rome, 
and not to be long absent. At Montsjsson he found his 
father and mother, as well as his brother, Eang Ansjs, and 
his sons, and the wild Bastard Dietrich of Carthago. Thej 
all rejoiced greatly to see Mailer again, but he could no 
longer enjoy happiness. When he had barelj spent four 
we^LS with them, he declared his intention of returning 
forthwith to Rome, to the Emperor Lother. He therefore 
took leave of all his friends, kissed his mother with tearful 
ejes, and rode awaj. When he came near to the city, his 
heart became so oppressed with grief, and he was so troubled 
on account of all the Christian blood he had shed, that he 
was obliged to dismount from his horse and sit down. Here 
he imagined a voice from heaven called to him, and said 
that he should become a hermit, lead an ascetic life, and 
expiate his sins in prayer and solitude. Then he Jet his 
horse loose, went far into the forest, where no man's foot 
ever came, and here he lived as a hermit, slept on the bare 
ground, bore the armour on his naked body, without once 
taking it off by night or day, eat wild roots, which he 
grubbed up himself, drank water, and mortified his body 

The Emperor Lother was' at Rome, and marvelled much 
that Mailer, his comrade, returned not; and as so long a 
time had already elapsed, Lother himself set forth with a few 
followers, and went towards Montsysson to seek him. But 
no one there had any knowledge of what had become of him ; 
they had all imagined he must be in Rome, and their fear 
was great, when they learnt from Lother that he had never 
arrived there. Lother and the others sought for him 
throughout the whole country, but nowhere could he be 
found. Then Rosamunde, Mailer's mother, laid herself down 
and died for great grief of her son. Lother returned again 
to Rome. Three years passed away, and no one had yet 
heard any tidings of Mailer. Then Lother fell ill, and nearly 
died also of grief; he mourned and wept incessantly; and 
as often as any one spoke of Mailer, or mentioned his name, 
he began anew to weep. At length he became so ill, that he 
was obliged to keep to his bed ; he was also very weak in his 
mind; and the physician admonished him that he must 
ceaae to encourage this great grief. 


liOiher, therefore^ oonunanded throogboat his whole king* 
dom that no one chould epeak of Kailery nor even mention 
his name, and that whoever transgressed this order shooM 
die. Thos was Mailer soon forgotten, and his name aever 
more thought of. After three yearsi it was ezacd j ^ time 
when people exhibited St Veronica in Borne; 1^ saint was 
shown once in every hundred years. Now MaOer thought 
that he also would go thither to see St Yeoronioa. He 
journeyed then to Borne ; his beard was long, and his oounte* 
nanoe pale and without colour or animation, for during three 
years he had taken no animal food, and had scareeljr sustained 
the life within him. He arrived elad like a pilgrim, so that 
none of his friends could have recognised him, and he went 
immediately to the church of St Peter, where he watched 
Lother, his comrade, enter and depart every day before him. 
One 3|in^y Mailer sought the palace where Lother rended, 
and when the latter saw him he trembled all over, for it 
brought to his mind that Mailer had once told him he would 
yet some day be a pilgrim. '^ Ah, Mailer," sighed the em- 
peror to hirnseh^ '*ii I but knew where to find thee, from one 
end of the world to the other would I go to seek for you." 
Mailer, not having heard of the emperoPs prohibition thatliis 
name should never be uttered in his presence, approadbed 
him, and begged an *^ alms for God's sake, and also for the 
sake of your faithful comrade Mailer, whom you loved so 
dearly." At the sound of this name the emperor lost all con- 
trol of himseir, his heart became hardened, and he dutdied 
his knife, which he cast at the pilgrim, so that it entered 
deep into his body. ^' Alas! Lother, I am Mailer your oom- 
rade, whom thou hast killed. Come here tome ; kias me, that 
I may show my forgiveness of the deed." 

Then Lother sprang down, took the pilgrim in his arms, 
and scrutinised him from head to foot ; having at last re- 
cognised his comrade, he fell down beside him in a swoon. 
When he again came to himself and remembered his ndsery, 
he cried aloud for great grief, cursed himself and the hour 
in which he was bom, and would have put an end to his 
own life, had not Mailer collected all his remaining strength 
and prevented him. '^Sire,*' said he, ''multiply not your 
sins^ but think of God ; shriek not out so loud that I am 
MaUer, whom you have killed; for should my firther and 


brother hear of it, they would wish to ayenge on you my 
deathy which God forbid ! Gk)d and his dear mother forgive 
you, as I forgive you with my whole heart." When he had 
said this, he gave to Lother one last smile of affection, and 
fell back dead in his anns. His soolhad been so full of faith- 
ful love, and he had been called to so expiatory a life, that 
certainly heavenly bUss is now his portion. His body was 
buried by the knights in hoLj ground. After that, Lother 
fell into such a severe sickness, that people thought he could 
no longer live. At length he was so far recovered that he 
could again go out ; but he never more spoke word to any 
man^ and wis plunged into the deepest grief, wh^Kce no one 
could arouse hun. 

On a certain day he had ridden out alone, and would take 
none of his attendants with him. They waited in vain for 
his xetom ; he never came again to Borne. As his son Mar- 
phone was passing through the Galabrian forest, he found 
him as a hermit, in a oeU, in the midst of the forest^ and 
there he soon afterwaids died in his scm's arms. 

Thus endeth die book of Lother and Mailer, the two 
faithful friends. 




80HLO6S Kablbteik, or, as it is called 
Karlsteiii," is situated in a lovelj spoi 
few hours' journey only from the auciei 
Its heavy towers rise from the deep 
forests, and the monntun oa which i 
by other Terdant hills and wooded heij 
erected by Charles, the fourth emperor ( 
reign, who, while acting towards the er 
spirit of a step-father, was to his 
parent, a gradous and beneficent aove 
mory yet lives in the traditions of Bofa 
spirit-stirring recollections of a golden 
at the same time glorious period of thei 

The castle, though still entire, has 1 
ation from repairs or renovations, and 
ns the more completely, in its present 1 
to those by-gone days when it was first 
fore us a rich stream of historical recolL 
its founder Charles, — of the period of t 
many secret deeds of fearful justice or 
have been enacted within its walb; w 
it speaks to us of the piety of that dej 
tiful regulations of its ecclesiastical 1 
glorions dawn of art, then breaking in 

Schloss Earlstein, besides its namer 

1808.] 8CHL088 KABLSTEIN. 401 

antiquities, contains treasures which will prove of incompar- 
able value in iUustrating the earliest history of painting. The 
venerable specimens of that art here existing link themselves 
on the one hand with the old German school, and on the other 
with the earliest symbolism of the Greek Christian style. 

' One of the two masters, chiefly employed in decorating 
the chapel, was of German extraction — Wurmser of Stras- 
bourg; the other, Theodoric of Prague, had completely 
adopted the style prevalent in the flrst epoch of painting, 
and which we are accustomed to designate the Byzantine or 
modem Greek. 

4 The paintings of Wurmser, on the walls of the chapel of 
St. Mary, are greatly injured and defaced. Those of Theo- 
doric of Prague, in the church of the Holy Gross, in the 
great tower of the castle, are generally in excellent preserv- 
ation ; and in the vaulted ceilings of the windows I re- 
marked a few by Wurmser, much less damaged than those in 
the chapel of St. Mary, — a picture of the ** Annunciation," 
for instance, and one of the "Adoration of the Three 
Kings." Another painting, representing the Apocalyptic 
Lamb with seven horns, vnth the seven Electors kneeling 
round in pious adoration, is also ascribed to that artist. 

The pictures of saints, by Theodoric of Prague, appear 
unquestionablv the most fascinating to the eye, and they are 
besides of higher importance in the history of the art. They 
number about one hundred and twenty, all repeating the By- 
zantine ^pe *, and are half-lengths rather larger than life. I 
was particularly struck with the latter circumstance, as mo£!t 
early pictures after that type which I have seen, either at 
Cologne, Paris, or in the Netherlands, have been rather at 
under the natural size of life. 

Theodoric's pictures are painted in general on a flowered 

* In the rq)resentatioiis of Byzantine art, the particular knowledge of 
nature,— that is, of the human form, — is entirely wanting ; this is apparent 
in the drawing of the naked figure, and in the folds of the drapery, which 
succeed each other in stiff lines, sharp and powerful, following no law of 
, form. The heads do not want character ; but the eipression is not 
merely defective — they have in common something of a spectral rigidity, 
indicating, in its type-like sameness, a dull servile constraint The figures 
are long and meagre ; the execution generally distinguished by eitreme 
finish, though not by any particular harmony of colour. The grounds 
are entirely gilt — KugUrt Handbook^ pages 22, 23. 

D D 


§M ground ; tiie drapeiieB sonfltimeB of 4me ool^nr oaly, 
in geaecaL eitlier ULne or red, and mmetimm ttrttved wi^ 
iteni^Dd gaUeailAfrflEiB. TIhe efiiaet prodsoed bf fifee inte- 
rior of the chupely in other di^ whea aU die tuts were freah, 
muat, from tbe extenud bailkncy of the<cdLMm emplofed, 
httpe hetm. lagnifteeiit and almost dardiiigi The paaelled 
walk andifae Tanlted roaf i^eam on eveiy Aide with gilding 
and gocgeouB oolonniig, and ave 4eoorated, Mow the paint- 
aapy with gold, preciena atanei^ and ig^abolieal ea^idena aad 
omamenti^ anmng wUoh the aqnave Geraaa «rofli is eon- 
stantlj introduced.* Manj of the heads in Theodadc^s pamt- 
inga are of great heanty : all higiiljr expreseive^ and eak and 
ddicate in eolouring, na is well known to be general^ the 
case with liiese eartteat paiatings : ^ featerea noUe^ aad 
prefoiBidljimagiMedy and the finidung touched williao happy 
and skiif al n hiuid, that modem artials might well envj ate 

Hie artists of ihe Byzaafsne achool aAen attain a peenliar 
excellenee in these points, eren when deficient in many 
odbera ; as for instanee, when any ^lares are introduced in 
artistic and difficult attitudes, their attempts at designing 
them are nsnallj unaoeoesafnl, and the figures are ill-pro- 
portioned and badlj drawn. In Hieodoric's piotiues of 
saints, which are generally half-lengths onlj, and in simple 
attitudes, the skilful draughtsman will detect fewer faults of 
this nature ; and, compared with other pictures of the same 
date, they deserve, in my opinion, to rank among the hest of 
that style. I particularly noticed a head of Si. LudmiHaj 
which was remarkably beautiful ; she is represented with a 
handkerchief round her throat, and her hands folded in 
prayer. St. Sigmund (Sigismund) may be cited as an ex- 

* The church of tbe Holy Cross in the great tower of the castle de- 
serves especial notice. The lower part of tbe walls is inlaid with rough 
amethysts, chrysolites, onyies, and other precious stones. Tbe upper 
part is covered with panelling, divided into a number of square oompart- 
ments, which contain half-figures of holy persons, 130 in number, painted 
by Theodoric of Prague. On tbe walls are several aoenes from Scrip* 
ture, ascribed to Wunnser and Kunze. The paintings in the lower 
ehurch of the Annmption of tbe Viiigin are also attributed to these 
artists. They represent the Emperor Charles lY. giving the cross to 
his eon; Wenceslaus bestowing a ring on Sigismund, and again knediag 
alworbed in his devotions. ^- KM^/ta^M HtmObook^ pages 38, 89. 

1808.] scHLOSS KAsaLSTxau 408 

nmple of m ^fiaely treated iiead ci an old «&an> and St Vitus 
of lAwt «of a yoimg 0ne; besides these, w^ nay mention St. 
John the Evangelist ; and below the apostle, Jacob ; liie 
latter, bowever, has been greatly injured. Above, near 
the peq» window, we see St. Hieronymiis, and also a holy 
hermit, bearing a pilgrim's sta€l ^^iuiy of the figores repre- 
sented carry books in thetr hands. St Mizabeth, St BarlMra, 
and, indeed, ail of these saints, struck me as peculiarly 
beautiful. The picture of St Thomas, in the university <Kf 
Prague, may give the lover of art a partial notion at least of 
these paintings ; but it is impossible to form a •correct idea 
of their effect, without having seen a number of them toge- 
ther ; and although, in so large a collection, the similarity of 
the treatment hais something fbrmai and monotonous, stiR 
the individuid heads are almost invariably good, and lofty in 
conception and execution. 

Above the altar is an ** Ecce Homo," painted, if I am not 
mistaken, by Thomas of Mutina*, but greatly mutilated, and 
wasting lite head. The decoration of the whole interior of 
the ohurch, the numerous pictures of saints, all of uniform 
proportions, and all similarly treated, with which the walls are 
covered, seem to correspond in some measure with the ritual 
of the Greek Church. Its ceremonial observances, differing as 
they do from those of the Roman Catholic Church, probably 
exerted great influence on the application of painting to pur- 
poses of ornament. The mass being, in the Greek Church, 
celebrated in the privacy of the sanctuary, it became neces- 
sary that the screen, which concealed the ceremony, and from 
the centre door of which the priest appears at a certain mo- 
ment, bearing the sacred elements [heiligthume], should be 
completely adorned and filled up with pictures ; the eyes of 
the devout worshippers being constantly directed thither 
during the performance of the service. The screen conceal- 
ing the Holy of Holies is, for this reason, made to resemble 
richly worked hangings of tapestry, and is covered with 
most beautiful symbols, such as might well attract the atten- 
tion of the pious, and excite in their minds devout and holy 
thoughts. A single large fresco painting would have been 
much less appropriate, and not so well adapted for the pur- 

* A Modenese, 1357. 

D D 2 


pose of long and unbroken contemplation. The entire space 
is therefore filled with numerous small figures, all of which 
are invariablj imiform. 

In the Romish Church, however, in which the mysteries 
are not celebrated in secret, nor the high altar screened from 
the eyes of the congregation, it becomes of necessity the 
grand centre-point of attraction and reverence, and all the 
resources of art and architecture, as well as painting, are 
exhausted in its exaltation and adornment. Painting, of 
course, became an adjunct of high importance, and the lofty 
compositions designed for altar-pieces undoubtedly opened a 
wide field for the display of genius, and gave a new impulse 
and most ennobling tendency to Western art. Still it was 
long ere that art attained the high degree of vigour, bold- 
ness, and all-subduing grandeur, which subsequently charac- 
terised it ; slowly and gradually it ventured to overstep the 
narrow bounds within which it had originally been confined, 
and to discard that prescribed formuki of early Christian 
painting, which, though fraught with expression, spirituality, 
and beauty, was nevertheless monotonous and circumscribed. 
The venerable remains of early art still existing in the church 
at Schloss Karlstein, and for which we are indebted to the 
genius of the Bohemian Theodoric, belong to a period which 
preceded one of these remarkable starting points of mo- 
dem art. Having merely passed through that place on my 
road from Prague, I was unable to devote more than one 
day to an examination of its antique treasures; but the 
little I can presume to say of them from recollection will 
perhaps arouse the attention of others, who may have bet- 
ter opportunities of examining them and appreciating their 

The important place which ought to be assigned to that 
early period, in all investigations of the history of the art, 
has of late years been acknowledged, not in Grermany only, 
but also in Italy ; and the beautiful germ, the first budding 
promise from which all the glorious fruition of modern art 
subsequently developed itself, begins now to be better known 
and more justly esteemed. It is to be wished that Bohemian 
patriots and amateurs would concur in making Karlstein, 
which with such treasures surely well merits it, the theme 
of a grand artistic national work, on the plan of that recently 

1308. "I SCUL083 KAKLari.lN. 405 

published on the Campo Santo at FiBa.* In this latter 
work the earliest straggles of unassisted genius are laid be- 
fore us in the efforts of Bufialmacco'l': we are tempted to 
compare the strange and daring creations of Orgagna} with 
the sublime conceptions of Dante ; and in the compositions 
of Benozzo GrozzoliS we recognise such an overflowing 
abundance of noble forms and grand conceptions, that we 
feel the editor of the work to be fully justified in styling 
him the Raphael of the early masters. 

Would that the many complaints raised in Italy, of the ne- 
glect and disregard to which these old paintings are exposed, 
were not equally applicable to ourselves ! The destroying 
hand of time, unassisted by such neglect, inflicts too many 
irreparable injuries on the productions of the arts. Would 
that its ravages were not too often aggravated either by 
intentional wantonness and folly on our part, by the all- 
pervading domination of ignorance and stupidity, or a 
thoughtless contempt for the glories of antiquity! One of 
the fresco paintings on the walk of the Campo Santo, at 
Pisa, a masterpiece of Giotto, has been partially destroyed 
in order to make way for a monument to the Signori Alga- 
rotti. Two other paintings by Grozzoli have in like manner 
been sacrificed, and are now completely defaced by busts 
and modem inscriptions. Every age appears to have a bar- 
barism of its own, and the modem era is distinguished in 
every country alike by a contempt for its own national an- 
tiquities. Though wandering with eager curiosity into the 
remotest ages of the world, the period more closely preceding 
our own is held in utter scorn and unwisely calumniated by 
a false epithet, fabricated by its despisers, who, while they 

* The cemetery of Pisa, an enceinte of about 400 feet in length and 
lis in width, is said to have been filled with earth brought from the Holy 
Land in the thirteenth century ; it was enclosed by high walls, and sur- 
rounded on the inside by an arcade, adorned with large paintings. 

f Buonamico Buffidmacco. His existence appears to be doubtful, 
as his Life by Vasari iz a mere collection of whimsical stories. 

{ Andrea, son of the Florentine sculptor Cione, died in IS89. The 
subjects of his pictures are the Triumph of Death, the Last Judgment, 
and the representation of HelL — See Kugler*i Handbook^ page 70. 

§ Of the Tuscan school, and a scholar of Fiesole ; between the years 
1469 and 1485, he embellished the north wall with pictures drawn from 
the history of the Old Testament. 

D o 3 


talk of ^ ^6 darkness of the middle ages," suffer tke mest 
glorious moaumeitts of national art aiid histarj to ML ne- 
glected to decay and riiia. 

I am far £ram desiring to compare Theodoric of Pragoe 
with either Giotto or Gozzoli ; still his paiatinga are l^ no 
means unworthy of regard, both sm enri<Hi8 specimens of 
antiquity and aa belongiiig to a r&j ioBportant period in. 
the advance of art. ^oold they ever become g^ierailj 
known, the opinion of connoisseurs wifl, I have no doobi^ 
fully agree with mine on this point. 

Schloss Karktein, however, ia not rewankaWe mex^j 
irom the worits of art already described ; it k in itself a 
mighty national momunent, a precious relic of medieval his- 
tory. If, therefore, my suggestion be destined ever to meet 
its accomplishment ; if an artistic work, adequate in its pkir 
to the importance of the theme, should ever be devoted to> 
the description of Karlst^a, it ought to comprise not onljr 
architectural drawings of tiie eastle itself but landscape 
views of tiie adjoining country and of the nte of the buildings 
As regards the paintings^ even the frescos, though half effacedl 
by the effect of explosion and the other evUs attendant on suck 
a calamity, it may still be possible to revive and restore a few 
at least among them, so that a skilful daraughtsman might 
copy the outlines, if no more, and thua give a gcaieral idea 
of their character. It may, indeed, be sufficient to copy a 
few pictmres only from among those of Theodoric, as a 
judicious selection nugfat ecmvey a very correct impFeatien: 
of the others ; stiU this should only be permtttod, if th^ 
limits of the work prove so narrow as to preclude the pos-> 
sibility of any other arrangement. Every lover of the art, 
who is unable in person to visit the spot and contemplate 
its wonders, will rqoice to see tiie whole placed vividly be- 
fore him, and, since all, undoubtedly, well deserve to be pre- 
served, it is surely better, in such a case^, to- be even too 
lavish tiian too niggardly in the infomuubiian supplied 



This picture, which is intended for an altar-piece in a 
choFcb, is eight feet nine inches in hei^t, and five feet in 
width. It contains only two figures — those of the saixht and 
her attendant angel, both hovering ia the dondsk The 
height of the fbrmer figure is six iee% and that of the aagd 
is of corresponding aiBB. !]^ is a compoaitioii of much merits 
grandly conceived, and eqatl in point of execution to llie 
most successful effi:>rtB of this master's genaxis* 

A genuine critic^ in: giving an i^hiien on this picture^ 
would probably either lest satisfied with generalities, or, en 
the other hand enter scmpulonriy into the minntest details. 
He would perhapa extol the eocxectness of the drawings the 
noble contours^ the animated ftTprftflmon ; or discover timt 
this arm was too j^ump,^ tiiat hand too* thin ; here a li^^ 
too glarmg; and there a delicate shadow most SuceesafuUj